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Sheffield Cathedral And The Cavaille-coll Orgue


D Quentin Bellamy

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I was wandering as to how well the voicing of the Parr Hall organ would work in Sheffield Cathedral as it will be coming from a softly furnished hall to a cathedral with acoustics at the opposite end of the scale. I remember GTB describing the challenges the voicing posed in his biography of the present Temple Church organ when it was installed. In fairness, they seemed to get the end result right of course!

I think this is an extremely good question. My only experience of Cavaille-Coll concert hall organs is the recently restored organ in the Philharmonie Concert Hall in Haarlem (restored by Flentrop in 2006, with a reconstructed Barker lever action).

 

This organ was originally in Amsterdam and it was transplanted to the Hall in 1874/5.

 

To English ears, this organ is *EXTREMELY* loud. The Great reeds and mixtures come on with a crash and seem to set the entire stage surround to resonate with the sound. It is quite devastating on the stage - not only will it frighten those of a nervous disposition, it will make them hallucinate.

 

However, many Cavaille-Coll organ experts feel that this organ has been softened and it would have been much louder in its original home.

 

I hate to think what such an instrument might be like in the relatively intimate environs of Sheffield Cathedral if the original voicing is kept. I also wonder how the cathedral organists will cope with such an instrument day-to-day to accompany evensong - the realities of living with such an organ may be very different to the dream. Long term I would worry how the nature of the instrument may become diffused as succesive organists strive to make it fit better for its purposes in the musical life of the Cathedral. I am concerned that they may not yet be fully aware of what they are letting themselves in for.

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Well, at least Cavaillé-Coll did think so, and said so, and the famous Reinburgs finished his organs on that type of action. (I do not know who did the finishing at Parr Hall.) So there is a musical reason to consider after all. Some historical Barker machines have been successfully quieted down by felt-lined encasing and the like.

 

I do remember being shocked when listening to Dupré's own recording of his opus 36, 1 in Saint-Sulpice (clicke-clicke-clicke-clicke-clicke-clicke-clicke-clicke-clicke-clicke-oooooh-clicke-clicke-oooooh-clicke-clicke-oooooh-clicke-clicke and so on). But that has improved considerably since then.

 

Best,

Friedrich

 

Felix Reinburg was foreman of the team installing this organ in 1870 at Bracewell Hall (the organ was commissioned by John Turner Hopwood, who lived at the Bracewell Hall and was a most benevolent host to Felix Reinburg).

At the time of the renovation by Henry Willis in 1971/2, the Barker Lever was deemed to be irreparable, and/or the cost would have been prohibitive, so it was replaced by electric action. It is regarded that this timely renovation is the reason why the Great Organ is in it's present day condition, and without it, there would have been no organ to discuss today.

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I think this is an extremely good question. My only experience of Cavaille-Coll concert hall organs is the recently restored organ in the Philharmonie Concert Hall in Haarlem (restored by Flentrop in 2006, with a reconstructed Barker lever action).

 

This organ was originally in Amsterdam and it was transplanted to the Hall in 1874/5.

 

To English ears, this organ is *EXTREMELY* loud. The Great reeds and mixtures come on with a crash and seem to set the entire stage surround to resonate with the sound. It is quite devastating on the stage - not only will it frighten those of a nervous disposition, it will make them hallucinate.

 

However, many Cavaille-Coll organ experts feel that this organ has been softened and it would have been much louder in its original home.

 

I hate to think what such an instrument might be like in the relatively intimate environs of Sheffield Cathedral if the original voicing is kept. I also wonder how the cathedral organists will cope with such an instrument day-to-day to accompany evensong - the realities of living with such an organ may be very different to the dream. Long term I would worry how the nature of the instrument may become diffused as succesive organists strive to make it fit better for its purposes in the musical life of the Cathedral. I am concerned that they may not yet be fully aware of what they are letting themselves in for.

 

 

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

 

 

 

I vividly recall playing this organ, long before the restoration, and the word loud is so....erm....inadequate.

 

After the gentile nobility of the Bavokerk, and even the robust sound of the Bavo RC Basilica, this organ was about as out of place as field full of weeds in the lovely Netherlands countryside.

 

I recall my host saying, "This organ is very......French......you understand."

 

I recall the feelings of relief as we retraced our musical steps back to the Netherlands again.

 

My thoughts were, "Big sound: big mistake."

 

I can't help thinking that a Cavaille-Coll organ needs plenty of space.

 

MM

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

 

I'm going to be in bother with this one, but what exactly is the point of installing a new Barker-Lever action to the organ at Warrington, or Sheffield if it were to move there?

 

Is it superior to all other forms of action?

 

Hello MM,

 

This is a very interesting discussion, when I spoke to David S about this he was convinced that this was the right thing to do, and I think he has a good point. Any modification to a good original design, be it organs, classic cars, steam engines will doubtless have disadvantages. Often issues along these lines include reliability problems, but also the functionality may not be as good. Especially if the original design was known to work well. These days organ builders are much much more accomplished at historical restoration than they used to be, and if there is a company who are experienced enough to do the work really well, then I`m sure the result will be excellent. Of course whether this is economically worth while is another matter, as I`m sure it will be expensive.

 

On another note, are there any advantages to playing a Barker lever assisted action? I would love to hear from anyone with experience regularly playing an instrument with it as it`s rare that I have. Roger Fisher had some interesting things to say about it (and he knows the Warrington CC organ well BTW). I asked him how Vierne could manage to play Naides and other fast, technically difficult pieces at Notre Dame, because the cumbersome and heavy Barkers would surely make it difficult... Not so he said and he explained that the feel at the keys is different, but when you`re used to it works well because despite being weighty, the key pushes back at the finger after being depressed making an easier release (or at least I think that was the jist of it...) Anyway - he said it all made perfect sense.

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...... Long term I would worry how the nature of the instrument may become diffused as succesive organists strive to make it fit better for its purposes in the musical life of the Cathedral. ........

 

I think the same could be said of a lot of Cathedral instruments not just this potential one. Adrian Partington has said of Gloucester: "I believe that nobody in 2010 would design an English cathedral organ like this one........ contemporary organ building dogma took precedence over musical practicalities".

PJW

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On another note, are there any advantages to playing a Barker lever assisted action? I would love to hear from anyone with experience regularly playing an instrument with it as it`s rare that I have.

 

Six years' knowledge of the Romsey organ, which is Barker lever to the Great, convinced me of its excellence. You get a very fast and crisp action which is exceedingly low maintenance, can be played very expressively, doesn't require complicated transmission systems and power supplies, and from backfalls up is just a simple mechanical action with no underactions and nasties hiding within the soundboard waiting to go wrong. There is a definite difference between a toggle-touch electric keyboard and the actual feeling of pressurised wind against your fingertips. It's one of those things which will never be possible to simulate exactly.

 

IMHO talk of public order offences is just silly; such noise as there is tends to come when inferior quality leather buttons have been used or (as is frequently the case in France) maintenance is not so thorough. Then, whenever you press a note, you get a click as all the slack is taken up in the trackers, backfalls and usually the coupler chassis. That is all straightforward to adjust to give a perfectly acceptable clean and quiet response. Nobody in the choir stalls at Romsey could hear our action going, and even the close microphones when we recorded it only get the occasional clunk. I have experience of louder, coarser actions* of all types, from tracker to direct electric.

 

Incidentally, I don't think it's fair to cast about that they are about to create an anachronism which won't be any good for Choral Evensong, which appears to be just under the surface of one or two postings. To play music, you need a musical instrument. The controls might be in slightly different places and do slightly different things, but that doesn't matter. The more a player is engaged with and working collaboratively with an instrument, the more colourful the results will be.

 

 

 

* I make one exception - the incredible contraption by Aubertin/Gaillard at Thann, which has a Barker lever action running on very high-pressure air provided by an industrial-sized compressor. That does make a bit of a racket, it has to be said.

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

 

 

 

I vividly recall playing this organ, long before the restoration, and the word loud is so....erm....inadequate.

 

After the gentile nobility of the Bavokerk, and even the robust sound of the Bavo RC Basilica, this organ was about as out of place as field full of weeds in the lovely Netherlands countryside.

 

I recall my host saying, "This organ is very......French......you understand."

 

I recall the feelings of relief as we retraced our musical steps back to the Netherlands again.

 

My thoughts were, "Big sound: big mistake."

 

I can't help thinking that a Cavaille-Coll organ needs plenty of space.

 

MM

 

The organ was built for the 'Paleis voor Volksvlijt' in Amsterdam, which was very much bigger than concerthall in Haarlem:

 

http://members.casema.nl/a.tiggeler/pvv%200055.jpg

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This is interesting stuff...

 

As far an the accompanying goes - nobody has mentioned so far that they are in possession of a 4 manual digital organ. As as much as I'd personally rather play a real organ for as much of the time as possible, I'm sure they can continue to use that a bit if necessary. It wouldn't be the first place to have a wonderful organ, but also an electronic to help out with the accompanying... I think I've heard that Trinity Cambridge have done this in the past. It is true... accompanying say... Elgar 'The spirit of the Lord' on the Cavaille Coll would be problematic, especially without a console assistant! However, I'm sure the hymns and voluntaries would be just super!

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Well, at least Cavaillé-Coll did think so, and said so, and the famous Reinburgs finished his organs on that type of action. (I do not know who did the finishing at Parr Hall.) So there is a musical reason to consider after all. Some historical Barker machines have been successfully quieted down by felt-lined encasing and the like.

 

I do remember being shocked when listening to Dupré's own recording of his opus 36, 1 in Saint-Sulpice (clicke-clicke-clicke-clicke-clicke-clicke-clicke-clicke-clicke-clicke-oooooh-clicke-clicke-oooooh-clicke-clicke-oooooh-clicke-clicke and so on). But that has improved considerably since then.

 

Best,

Friedrich

 

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

 

At the time, the Barker-lever was probably the best action avalable, but not nowadays.

 

Obviously, the gentler movement of Barker lever, (as compared to the more rapid movement of a collpasing pneumatic motor), is an important consideration, but that can be got around surely?

 

It would be interesting to know how the American, programmable actions work, because if such a system could replicate the exact motion of Barker-lever action for pipe-speech purposes, it would be a great solution to the problem

 

I could envisage a system of exhaust pneumatic being modulated by small, computer controlled linear motors, but I expect someone will tell me that this is not yet possible.

 

MM

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

 

At the time, the Barker-lever was probably the best action avalable, but not nowadays.

 

Some would say the same of tracker. I think that's entirely beside the point, however; it's important to take things as we find them, accepting (rather like your diesel engine in a steam train idea) that there are pros and cons to any solution.

 

In this situation, it would be inconceivable to move an organ and install in a new 7-days-a-week role without replacing a 40-year old electric action and everything associated with it from magnets to cabling to key contacts to power supplies to transmission gear - in short, significant cost. It appears sensible to spend a little more on something which is a) restorative, and therefore qualifiying for more grants and generating more interest and B) is quite likely to last longer than the electric action it replaces, whilst not having any significant disadvantages.

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It wouldn't be the first place to have a wonderful organ, but also an electronic to help out with the accompanying... I think I've heard that Trinity Cambridge have done this in the past.

 

They are still doing it! Did anyone play the previous Harrison there? From its specification, it looks more like the right kind of instrument for accompanying Anglican services.

 

Enjoyable and valuable as historically informed quasi-replicas are, there is something to be said for an organ designed for choral accompaniment, especially in such places as the Oxbridge colleges. The same could be said of this proposal to move the CC to Sheffield Cathedral, couldn't it? For my part, I've enjoyed listening to the organ at St John's, Cambridge, which seems to handle an extraordinarily wide range of music with aplomb, both accompanying and as a solo instrument. Just how hard is designing an instrument that can play a fair bit of the repertoire musically?

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They are still doing it! Did anyone play the previous Harrison there? From its specification, it looks more like the right kind of instrument for accompanying Anglican services.

 

Enjoyable and valuable as historically informed quasi-replicas are, there is something to be said for an organ designed for choral accompaniment, especially in such places as the Oxbridge colleges. The same could be said of this proposal to move the CC to Sheffield Cathedral, couldn't it? For my part, I've enjoyed listening to the organ at St John's, Cambridge, which seems to handle an extraordinarily wide range of music with aplomb, both accompanying and as a solo instrument. Just how hard is designing an instrument that can play a fair bit of the repertoire musically?

 

I don't see that a historically informed organ and "an organ designed for choral accompaniment" need be mutually exclusive at all. The organ at my church could claim to be historically informed (although it would never be presumptive enough to claim it is entirely historically informed), yet within the context of its 18 stops and the aspirations of our better-than-average country parish church choir, it has proved itself to be extremely good at choral accompaniment and certainly adequate for our church's needs.

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I don't see that a historically informed organ and "an organ designed for choral accompaniment" need be mutually exclusive at all. The organ at my church could claim to be historically informed (although it would never be presumptive enough to claim it is entirely historically informed), yet within the context of its 18 stops and the aspirations of our better-than-average country parish church choir, it has proved itself to be extremely good at choral accompaniment and certainly adequate for our church's needs.

 

I regularly play two instruments, one by our hosts and one, an unaltered1915 Hill. I feel that it is of more importance that an instrument speaks as an integral musical whole rather than having a stoplist perceived to be appropriate to accompaniment. Each instrument is fine but used very differently.

 

Mpk.

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...it looks more like the right kind of instrument for accompanying Anglican services...

 

Enjoyable and valuable as historically informed quasi-replicas are, there is something to be said for an organ designed for choral accompaniment...

 

 

Dogma in organ building works two ways; there's the Ralph Downes sort, and there's this sort. The sooner we collectively ditch the notion of designing organs for choral accompaniment (a completely nonsensical idea, if you stop to think about it for even a moment) and focus instead on designing musical instruments the better. That should be the end of the matter.

 

A distinguished elderly organist, whose passing was mentioned recently in another thread, lay down in front of the bulldozers when his church commissioned a historical reconstruction by Bill Drake after a fire. Of course, a few weeks of living with it went by and he then realised the absolute simplicity of the matter - they had obtained an exceptionally good musical instrument upon which - surprise, surprise - he was able to play pretty much any music, including accompanying the choir.

 

Therefore, it doesn't matter that this Cavaille-Coll won't sound like a Harrison. It doesn't matter that Gloucester doesn't sound like a Harrison. Whether they are good musical instruments or not lies only 25% at the most in the stoplist.

 

No two pianos sound alike; if the whole world were full of Steinways and nothing but, wouldn't it be a tedious place? Many pianists embrace different types of instrument and temperament and other characteristics and exploit them to the max. Yet frequently we organists are guilty of ruminating that no instrument should be without two sets of strings, a 32' flue and an enclosed Clarinet just like the ones at Salischester.

 

I will be very near the front of the queue for a visiting choir slot at Sheffield when this is complete.

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Whether they are good musical instruments or not lies only 25% at the most in the stoplist.

 

 

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

 

I couldn't agree more. I know a local organ in Yorkshire with a peculiar pedigree,no famous names associated with it, and a specification which looks like any other quasi neo-baroque job from the 1960's. It is a superb instrument, and very suitable for accompaniment.

 

I know a medium-size two manual Abbot & Smith which looks ordinary on paper,but in reality, is just superb for what it is and what it can do.

 

Stop lists count for very little.

 

 

MM

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I feel I've been mis-characterised here. I didn't suggest that an organ suitable for choral music and a historically-informed organ are mutually exclusive, I simply asked how difficult it is to design an instrument that plays a wide variety of repertoire musically. But obviously, much twentieth-century Anglican repertoire was written with a late-romantic organ in mind, though there are other types of organ on which Anglican choral repertoire can be accompanied very musically. Stephen Bicknell talks in his book about St Ignatius Loyola in New York, and how he felt that although the instrument there was conceived clearly with a French bias, that most repertoire was playable on it musically, and that choral accompaniment was well catered for by this organ. What I was trying to get at is the question of which organ traditions were most able to deal with music which may not have been written for them. Any strong opinions? For example, a Schnitger organ, though tierces can occur, would not offer a Jeu de tierce required for French classical organ music. Implicit also in this question is which type of repertoire is more important in British churches. I would be intrigued to hear people's thoughts on this.

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

 

I couldn't agree more. I know a local organ in Yorkshire with a peculiar pedigree,no famous names associated with it, and a specification which looks like any other quasi neo-baroque job from the 1960's. It is a superb instrument, and very suitable for accompaniment.

 

I know a medium-size two manual Abbot & Smith which looks ordinary on paper,but in reality, is just superb for what it is and what it can do.

 

Stop lists count for very little.

 

 

MM

 

Either way, don't exclude the organist who is the one to actually 'make music' on it whatever type of instrument it is.

If he can't, I guess it doesn't matter how good or suitable the instrument is ...

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I feel I've been mis-characterised here. I didn't suggest that an organ suitable for choral music and a historically-informed organ are mutually exclusive, I simply asked how difficult it is to design an instrument that plays a wide variety of repertoire musically. But obviously, much twentieth-century Anglican repertoire was written with a late-romantic organ in mind, though there are other types of organ on which Anglican choral repertoire can be accompanied very musically. Stephen Bicknell talks in his book about St Ignatius Loyola in New York, and how he felt that although the instrument there was conceived clearly with a French bias, that most repertoire was playable on it musically, and that choral accompaniment was well catered for by this organ. What I was trying to get at is the question of which organ traditions were most able to deal with music which may not have been written for them. Any strong opinions? For example, a Schnitger organ, though tierces can occur, would not offer a Jeu de tierce required for French classical organ music. Implicit also in this question is which type of repertoire is more important in British churches. I would be intrigued to hear people's thoughts on this.

 

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

 

What a terribly complicated and innocent looking question!

 

I've heard all sorts of "alien" repertoire in unexpected places.....Frank Bridge, Reger, Widor and Messaien at the Bavokerk, Haarlem. (Siperbly effective with an army of registrands).

 

I've heard very effective choral accompaniment on an "American Classic" across the pond.

 

I've heard excellent Vierne played on a Wurlitzer cinema-organ.

 

However, two organs spring to mind which can do just about everything with impunity, are those at Hull City Hall and St.Bride's, Fleet Street....both essentially Compton instruments; especially the latter.

 

I'm not sure if there is a lesson there or not.

 

MM

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Either way, don't exclude the organist who is the one to actually 'make music' on it whatever type of instrument it is.

If he can't, I guess it doesn't matter how good or suitable the instrument is ...

 

I would certainly agree that there are a lot of very dull organs, which are designed to do no more than blend with voices, and which can do little else. This, of course, is not the approach one should consider. In terms of choral accompaniment, an organ does need some variety of quieter stops, but the stoplist is less important than factors such as the building and the position of the organ. Certainly an organ that overwhelms a choir when it's at 20% is not ideal either, and if a choir is important in a church, why would they build something that couldn't do this? This does not exclude a musical instrument of great quality. What I was trying to get at is how does one approach choosing a style that will play a lot of repertoire at least musically, if not authentically, and something that can also accompany a choir without drowning it out? I suppose the ideal approach would be to have a West-end Grand-Orgue for solos and an Orgue-de-Choeur in the chancel/quire. Any other thoughts? Perhaps JPM might be able to comment on this for us.

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I feel I've been mis-characterised here. I didn't suggest that an organ suitable for choral music and a historically-informed organ are mutually exclusive, I simply asked how difficult it is to design an instrument that plays a wide variety of repertoire musically. But obviously, much twentieth-century Anglican repertoire was written with a late-romantic organ in mind, though there are other types of organ on which Anglican choral repertoire can be accompanied very musically. Stephen Bicknell talks in his book about St Ignatius Loyola in New York, and how he felt that although the instrument there was conceived clearly with a French bias, that most repertoire was playable on it musically, and that choral accompaniment was well catered for by this organ. What I was trying to get at is the question of which organ traditions were most able to deal with music which may not have been written for them. Any strong opinions? For example, a Schnitger organ, though tierces can occur, would not offer a Jeu de tierce required for French classical organ music. Implicit also in this question is which type of repertoire is more important in British churches. I would be intrigued to hear people's thoughts on this.

Two points I would make:

The most recent work of Paul Fritts and Ralph Richards, both working in the North German Baroque style at an astronomically high standard, shows how the Schnitger/Mueller/Hintz idioms can be developed to reach into the romantic repertoire and elsewhere. Particular instruments worth considering are:

http://www.frittsorgan.com/opus_pages/gall...to_gallery.html

http://www.frittsorgan.com/opus_pages/gall...to_gallery.html

 

http://www.richardsfowkes.com/pages/3instr...15/15_index.php

http://www.richardsfowkes.com/pages/3instr...17/17_index.php

 

I've written before about my admiration of the Tennessee organ before - listen here to it at about 11 minutes playing a Schumann Fugue:

http://pipedreams.publicradio.org/www_publ...7_0801part2_128

This is the best I've ever heard this piece in a recording and taking into account the bone-dry acoustic, this organ is a remarkable achievement.

 

There are fine recordings of the Fritts organs - Craig Columbus at Columbus and Michael Unger at Rochester are warmly recommended as they show off these organs in a wide variety of repertoire, from Sweelinck and Spanish music to Reger, Jongen, English romantics and contemporary music.

 

The second point is that it is of utmost importance to build an organ that is appropriate in style for the room. I feel that this is where many of the less successful "Historically Informed" instruments have fallen apart. Especially in university chapels, there are many examples of organs built in a particular style that are stylistically just as inappropriate for their location as they are for their function. If you match the style of the organ to its location appropriately, you frequently set in place a good framework for a successful organ. Not only does this framework inform the decisions of the design and specification of the organ, it provides the basis for the musical identity of the organ, which it will lend to any music that is played upon it, in a manner that is entirely appropriate for the location.

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If it can be installed in Sheffield Cathedral in such a way that it retains its integrity, I don't see why the Parr Hall instrument shouldn't make a very distinguished cathedral organ. After all, features of a Cavaille-Coll include the delicious variety of permutations of the fonds and the ability to crescendo through the whole organ, which should be perfect for psalms and many anthems and canticle settings. It might take a little while for the players to get used to the Cavaille system of stop control, but surely any respectable organist would consider that worthwhile.

 

I remember the Trinity College, Cambridge, Harrison just before it was taken out. It was certainly a very fine instrument, maybe lacking quite the magic of Kings in the soft registers, but still with a very large and varied palette. But apart from musical considerations, it may have been thought that the extended case was too much of a good thing, and the 32' woods lined up in the ante-chapel were not exactly beautiful. I must confess that I've only heard the Metzler playing small-scale Bach, and reckoned that the Harrison could have made similar noises with cunning registration, but in recordings it certainly sounds as if more recent organ scholars have discovered how to get all the Romantic sounds they require out of it.

 

Although the St Ignatius, New York, organ looks very French on paper, I thought that in the flesh it sounded less so. British with a fair dollop of French colour, perhaps. It could almost have had the stop names in Father Willis English. Above all, an exceedingly fine and cohesive instrument, and the case and the build quality are superlative. If only all new English organs had the same wow factor!

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  • 4 weeks later...

On Friday 17 June at 7.30.p.m. at the Parr Hall, Warrington, there is to be a joint recital on the famous Cavaillé-Coll Organ by Roger Fisher & (Warrington-born) Ben Saunders to celebrate the Bi-Centenary of the birth of the birth of Aristide Cavaillé-Coll. This will be the final occasion on which the organ can be heard in Warrington, as it is to be dis-mantled in the summer, with a view to moving it to Sheffield Cathedral.

 

This event also marks the Centenary of the death of Alexandre Guilmant.

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Two points I would make:

The most recent work of Paul Fritts and Ralph Richards, both working in the North German Baroque style at an astronomically high standard, shows how the Schnitger/Mueller/Hintz idioms can be developed to reach into the romantic repertoire and elsewhere. Particular instruments worth considering are:

 

Interesting that you mention Paul Fritts. Through the good offices of DHM, I had the opportunity to play the following:

 

University of Puget Sound

St Mark's Cathedral, Seattle - small organ (as well as the big one next door)

PLU

Ascension

 

The first of these was ostensibly the oldest in style but still did everything. The second of these was by far the cleverest - I can't imagine a better instrument for the space. His work on the big Flentrop in the cathedral is spectacular. The last two represent the sort of things Peter Collins and others have tried to do, but Fritts gets the nail on the head in a way nobody else has - user friendly, varied, terrific.

 

In each case, I had some free time to mess about and choose concert repertoire, and did not feel the least bit limited by any of them. I then had to accompany an English choral evensong on minimal rehearsal on each, and again found absolutely no limitations, though DHM will probably say that there was too much adaptation of the notes in order to be able to get around the colours of the instrument.

 

Spirit of the Lord on a Cavialle-Coll? Can't imagine anything better. Reed ventils to each manual are exactly what you need for the big bit in the middle. The rest is easy to hand register so long as your violas, French horns and harps are on different manuals.

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Spirit of the Lord on a Cavialle-Coll? Can't imagine anything better. Reed ventils to each manual are exactly what you need for the big bit in the middle. The rest is easy to hand register so long as your violas, French horns and harps are on different manuals.

 

I would agree with this.

 

Mind you, I might wish to modify your final sentence, and state 'possible' to hand-register. The score is fairly busy and, whilst there are plenty of moments to press pistons (and turn pages, where necessary), it generally takes two or three seconds longer to push in or pull out stops. Perhaps four or five seconds at Chichester.*

 

 

 

* Notwithstanding the (excellent) dual-control system, the stops, when moved by hand, are considerably stiffer than drawstops which are conrolled by solenoids. Thus, a quick lunge at a particular stop can result in any one of three events: the stop drawn successfully; the stop partly drawn, but 'bouncing' back in; or, the stop barely drawing at all - certainly not enough to allow that rank to speak. Having written this, I would not have this superb instrument any other way.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On Friday 17 June at 7.30.p.m. at the Parr Hall, Warrington, there is to be a joint recital on the famous Cavaillé-Coll Organ by Roger Fisher & (Warrington-born) Ben Saunders to celebrate the Bi-Centenary of the birth of the birth of Aristide Cavaillé-Coll. This will be the final occasion on which the organ can be heard in Warrington, as it is to be dis-mantled in the summer, with a view to moving it to Sheffield Cathedral.

 

This event also marks the Centenary of the death of Alexandre Guilmant.

 

A correction is needed here.

After being told, only recently, by Warrington Borough Council, that the Great Organ in the Parr Hall is destined to be dismantled next year, two web-sites will eventually be amended to read that this MAY be the final opportunity of hearing this organ in the Parr Hall.

Never-the-less, this joint recital to be given by Roger Fisher and Benjamin Saunders will be an event NOT to be missed. Both of these Recitalists have a connection and affinity with this organ, so the quality of the music-making is assured.

 

Parr Hall has recently undergone a refurbishment and the results, including views of the organ, can be seen at www.posimage.co.uk

Click on 'Latest Work' to see these pictures.

 

Tickets for the Recital on 17th June can be obtained at the Parr Hall Box Office Tel. 01925 442345 AND from www.pyramidparrhall.com

They are £10 and £7 Concessions.

 

The programme will be in the style of the organ and consist of music by composers who were inspired by the Great Organs of Aristide Cavaill-Coll.

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