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andersboy_5

Loudest Tubas

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AJJ    0
Yes, I think this is the very same. Was it a certain Dr. Williams, FRCO, who was organist there in those days? He's a bit before my time though. I don't know very much about him - happy to learn more though!

 

Would I be right that this 32' road drill is also housed in the Choir Swell box, on 15'' WP? It's still there, with its infinite graduation swell pedals.

 

I remember this organ was reviewed by Cecil/Sam Clutton in The Organ, circa 1950s.

 

 

The very same though I am not nearly old enough to have been there in the time of Williams. Jeremy Blandford was DOM in my time. I've not been back since I left the University - after the new organ went into the TS I had lessons there.

 

A

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bombarde32    0

I too took lessons on that organ along with another friend of mine during jeremy blandford's time. To a fourteen year old the 32' reed sounded like the very opening of hell!!

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It's a mighty impressive stop on a mighty impressive organ! I almost had to hang on to the pillars when I first heard it - somebody tried to talk to me over the top of the organ - she had to shout!

 

What's Jeremy Blandford doing these days?

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AJJ    0
What's Jeremy Blandford doing these days?

 

In Norway - 'did recitals in York recently though - he was/is a good teacher - lots of patience with 'us undergrads'.

 

A

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MikeK    0
Yes, I think this is the very same. Was it a certain Dr. Williams, FRCO, who was organist there in those days? He's a bit before my time though. I don't know very much about him - happy to learn more though!

 

Would I be right that this 32' road drill is also housed in the Choir Swell box, on 15'' WP? It's still there, with its infinite graduation swell pedals.

 

I remember this organ was reviewed by Cecil/Sam Clutton in The Organ, circa 1950s.

 

I was a pupil of Cecil Williams in the early 1960's, later becoming his assistant at St Mary's. I do not remember him as having a Doctorate though, perhaps we was awarded it after my time there. my memories of him have become a bit faded over the years but I remember him as a stern but good teacher. His influence led me to take up music professionally & we remained good friends until his death, indeed he played the organ for my wedding in1966. He did insist on choosing all the music though!

I remember the organ in St. Mary's with great affection & Cecil took great pride in demonstrating & talking about it. The specification was almost identical to the then Willis III in All Souls, Langham Place, but Cecil never admitted being influenced by this organ. The tuba was indeed extended down to 32' & housed in the choir box. The swell also had 2 16' reeds but no 16' flue. One death-trap I remember to my cost was a' blind' full-organ toe piston. The consequences of failing to cancel this at a Civic Service still send shivers down my spine some 50 years later! I would not be surprised if his Worship the Mayor suffered permanent deafness, such was the power of the aformentioned tuba! The console was situated some 12ft above the ground, between 2 pillars. It was accessed by a wooden spiral staircase & was affectionately known as 'Cecil's Folly'!

I gather the organ is now in a very sorry state, needing much work to the leatherwork etc. Hopefully some way will be found to restore this superb instrument to it's former glory?

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bwv572    0

I confess that I'm less a fan of the tuba than I once was. Perhaps we should measure them by vulgarity rather than loudness?

 

As for my favourite sounds: the Lieblich Gedackt and Flutes on the Truro choir organ are simply the loveliest I've ever heard.

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I suppose that making the tuba available on the pedal is the sole raison d'etre of the Solo to Pedal coupler on a 1920's Harrison. I can't imagine any other of the solo stops at Halifax being much use on the pedal - I've tried them and they are too quiet in the bass.

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Yes, quite. Sometimes I think a solo reed (tuba or tuba-alternative) without the bottom octave of pipes is missing a big trick as you can't couple it to the pedals (unless you want a kind of pedal divide thing going on). This type of solo stop without the biggest and most expensive pipes seems to have become more prevalent in the 50s and 60s when budgets became smaller yet people wanted more and more organ stuffed into a smaller space... I can't think of many vintage Willis and H&Hs with a missing bottom octave of their tubas.

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Paul Morley    0
...This type of solo stop without the biggest and most expensive pipes seems to have become more prevalent in the 50s and 60s when budgets became smaller yet people wanted more and more organ stuffed into a smaller space...

I'm sure that this was the real reason – despite the dodgy claims made by builders and consultants that there was artistic rationale behind the practice.

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I'm sure that this was the real reason – despite the dodgy claims made by builders and consultants that there was artistic rationale behind the practice.

Yes, quite. It seems a shame the client organists couldn't use their newly-added Spanish Trompette en Chamade (or whatever excitingly-named meaningless gloss the consultant demanded was on the stop knob) for things like a Cantus Firmus in de Grigny... which repertoire these sorts of additions were usually touted to make possible - at least, that was usually the artistic rationale....

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St. Michael's Cornhill has a good tuba and it's a fun one to play. If I remember rightly it speaks quite clearly down the north aisle, and you hear it much better from the west wall than the console.

 

The organ in the City Temple (Holborn viaduct) has some excellent reeds on it. The tuba is exciting there. The pedal ophicleide makes its presence known more though- quite thunderous.

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St. Michael's Cornhill has a good tuba and it's a fun one to play. If I remember rightly it speaks quite clearly down the north aisle, and you hear it much better from the west wall than the console.

 

The organ in the City Temple (Holborn viaduct) has some excellent reeds on it. The tuba is exciting there. The pedal ophicleide makes its presence known more though- quite thunderous.

 

The new H&H at St.Edmundsbury has two superb reeds on the Solo- the Trumpet would be a Tuba on most organs, and the Tuba? GOSH!!

 

CP

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St. Michael's Cornhill has a good tuba and it's a fun one to play. If I remember rightly it speaks quite clearly down the north aisle, and you hear it much better from the west wall than the console.

 

The organ in the City Temple (Holborn viaduct) has some excellent reeds on it. The tuba is exciting there. The pedal ophicleide makes its presence known more though- quite thunderous.

 

I'm going to nominate Holy Trinity, Hull. Compton produced exquisite reeds and those at HT were voiced by the legendary Billy Jones.

 

And a couple of minutes up Whitefriargate there's another Compton gem in the form of an Orchestral Trumpet.

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handsoff    0
If you mean the H&H at Coventry Cathedral, it is actually an 8ft. Harmonic Flute - but I agree, it is extraordinarily beautiful.

 

Indeed, but the Swell Oboe is, I submit, of equal beauty. It sounds a shiver down my spine when used as a solo stop as in Flor Peeter's "Aria" and a JSB Chorale Prelude (I forget which), both of which I heard played there recently.

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Good morning/afternoon/evening wherever we all are...

 

When this thread re-activated I thought or a moment that it was a new one. I am however reassured that I was at least about to give the precise answer that I gave in 2009! ;)

 

By way of adding to the previous answer, the finest Tuba stop to have met my ears resides in the Skinner organ installed in the Peristyle at the Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio. Not only does this particular stop have a magnificent presence and pleasing vowel sound, but the voicing is absolutely bang on with regard to the purity of the tone. With the Toledo Tuba, there is total lack of extraneous noise so often attendant with such stops, which, while an attribute that is often found to be perversely enjoyable by any admirer of the pipe organ, still serve to distract attention away from the "musical" part of the show.

 

This stop can be heard in all its glory on the JAV CD The Art of the Symphonic Organist, Volume 3, playing the Cook Fanfare as directed by the blessed fingers of Thomas Murray.

 

Best,

 

- Nathan

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AJJ    0
...............This stop can be heard in all its glory on the JAV CD The Art of the Symphonic Organist, Volume 3, playing the Cook Fanfare as directed by the blessed fingers of Thomas Murray.

 

Best,

 

- Nathan

 

There is some good artillery here too of a very tasteful and artistic weight. If you can't get there in person try the JAV CD set also with Thomas Murray - demonstrating much of the instrument's resources in his own inimitable way. (There is also - on a Priory CD I think - a recording by Murray playing the Elgar Larghetto from Serenade for Strings - ok, not Tubas but just as exciting with all those strings!) This is an organ I'd really like to visit though am unlikely to get to - in the near future at least - more's the shame.

 

A

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How about the Tuba Mirabilis at York? That's pretty devastating in the nave. Ever since the rest of the organ was emasculated in the last two rebuilds, it has stood completely out of all proportion to the rest of the organ. I have to say it sounds far finer in the recordings I have of it in the 1950s than it does today.

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MusingMuso    0
There is some good artillery here too of a very tasteful and artistic weight. If you can't get there in person try the JAV CD set also with Thomas Murray - demonstrating much of the instrument's resources in his own inimitable way. (There is also - on a Priory CD I think - a recording by Murray playing the Elgar Larghetto from Serenade for Strings - ok, not Tubas but just as exciting with all those strings!) This is an organ I'd really like to visit though am unlikely to get to - in the near future at least - more's the shame.

 

A

 

===========================

 

 

Having spent quite a bit of time across the pond, I left there with the great regret that I never saw or heard the Yale instrument.

 

I think I would not hesitate in referring to this instrument as one of the truly great organs of the world; it really is that good, whatever fashion may have to say about it.

 

Skinner Tubas, in my experience, are rather brighter than their English counterparts, and all the better for it.

 

MM

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AJJ    0
===========================

 

 

Having spent quite a bit of time across the pond, I left there with the great regret that I never saw or heard the Yale instrument.

 

I think I would not hesitate in referring to this instrument as one of the truly great organs of the world; it really is that good, whatever fashion may have to say about it.

 

Skinner Tubas, in my experience, are rather brighter than their English counterparts, and all the better for it.

 

MM

 

Interestingly - at Yale there is a Tuba and a big Trumpet to use together or as a contrast - both bright (so none of the oppressiveness - perhaps -that you get with an Arthur Harrison specimen) - yet both different enough to be of use in the right context. H & H seem to be doing this in many of their current schemes (Cirencester, St Edmundsbury, Lichfield etc.). 'Repertoire wise' Prof. Murray never over uses such stops - they are evident but only when appropriate. I have too often heard (more often) visiting recitalists at large and well endowed instruments using far too much far too often!

 

A

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MusingMuso    0
How about the Tuba Mirabilis at York? That's pretty devastating in the nave. Ever since the rest of the organ was emasculated in the last two rebuilds, it has stood completely out of all proportion to the rest of the organ. I have to say it sounds far finer in the recordings I have of it in the 1950s than it does today.

 

===========================

 

 

Colin is probably right. The York party-horn is quite tremendous down the nave, but deliciously and delightfully uneven. We used to do amusing imitations of it in the pub at Halifax after Evensong, and the FJ recording of the Cocker "Tuba Tine" will forever encapsulate the quirks of this particular rank.

 

I'm surprised that no-one has yet mentioned Liverpool, because not only is the big Tuba at St George's Hal impressive enough, the one at the anglican cathedral, in spite of such a vast space, certainly makes its presence known.

 

MM

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Loudest perhaps means overbearing in the room into which it is speaking - therefore a properly conceived stop should be constructed to suit the building and of course (to my mind) the rest of the organ. It is a Solo stop more often than not and is in certain music quite an effect when used with the utmost taste and necessary panache. Some examples to my mind and ears are of little musical worth and produce an obscene amount of power with no apparent artistry.

One example that must be used with the utmost respect is the H & H in Leicester Cathedral. If any readers want 'loud', pay a visit! If you can only get as far as Coventry (and the wind is more from an easterly direction), you might still be able to hear it. It is on the usual 15". Wisbech, Saints Peter & Paul (H&H) is a gigantic sound and worthy of a Govt Health Warning.

Happy Honking!

N

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msw    0

Has anyone mentioned Hull City Hall yet? There's a Tuba that one dare not use except as a solo stop, and then only fleetingly. (And don't even think about adding it to a chorus: you will probably blast a hole in the walls!) Of course, said instrument boasts an array of impressive and characterful reedwork, so that one is spoilt for choice when it comes to big noises.

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MusingMuso    0
Has anyone mentioned Hull City Hall yet? There's a Tuba that one dare not use except as a solo stop, and then only fleetingly. (And don't even think about adding it to a chorus: you will probably blast a hole in the walls!) Of course, said instrument boasts an array of impressive and characterful reedwork, so that one is spoilt for choice when it comes to big noises.

 

 

==========================

 

 

I'll mention it. I used to play the "beast" quite regularly, and absolute "tutti" is quite scary, with all the chorus reeds topped by the Tuba AND the Orchestral Trumpet. The Pedal 16ft extension of the Tuba is, as I described quite recently on the board, like a Cavaille-Coll Bombarde on acid.

 

I've also mentioned Andrew Leach, the former assistant at Beverley, who once said to me about the City Hall instrument:-

 

"On a quiet day, you can hear the bloody thing down at the docks!"

 

He was stretching the truth a bit, of course, but even Carlo Curley said it was possibly one of the five most powerful instruments he had ever played.

 

MM

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S_L    0
==========================

 

 

I'll mention it. I used to play the "beast" quite regularly, and absolute "tutti" is quite scary, with all the chorus reeds topped by the Tuba AND the Orchestral Trumpet. The Pedal 16ft extension of the Tuba is, as I described quite recently on the board, like a Cavaille-Coll Bombarde on acid.

 

I've also mentioned Andrew Leach, the former assistant at Beverley, who once said to me about the City Hall instrument:-

 

"On a quiet day, you can hear the bloody thing down at the docks!"

 

He was stretching the truth a bit, of course, but even Carlo Curley said it was possibly one of the five most powerful instruments he had ever played.

 

MM

 

The Spanish Trompetta or Trompetta Argenta or whatever it used to be called, that, I think, someone said is now in Monmouth parish church (or was it Abergavenny?) and that used to be in St Chad's RC Cathedral Birmingham was pretty devastating - especially when used by John Pryer as a chorus reed!

 

They reckoned when used at St. Chad's the congregation at St. Philip's Cathedral jumped - an exaggeration of course but fun.

 

(I remember Andrew Leach well. He was sub organist of Beverley Minster to Peter Fletcher and then, I think, went to Howden Minster as Organist and has just celebrated 27 years as Organist of Hessle Parish Church which, interestingly, since 1901 has only had four organists: Philip Chignell (1901-44) Harold Dibnah (1944-50) Raymond Taylor (1950-84) and Andrew Leach - quite a record!! - and there lies the possibility of a new 'thread' on organist's longevity - or has there been one!!!)

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AJJ    0
Has anyone mentioned Hull City Hall yet? There's a Tuba that one dare not use except as a solo stop, and then only fleetingly. (And don't even think about adding it to a chorus: you will probably blast a hole in the walls!) Of course, said instrument boasts an array of impressive and characterful reedwork, so that one is spoilt for choice when it comes to big noises.

 

Check out the Priory CD from there - Complete works of Percy Whitlock - Vol. 1 - Graham Barber. You get them all - in the best possible taste though!

 

A

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