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Philip J Wells

Selby Abbey

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Without voicing an opinion about the nave organ, I feel inclined to pose a question about the 'Hill'.

 

Is it?

 

HNB restored it in 1930 and moved some of the departments. They rebuilt it in 1950 with a new console. There have been sundry but major peppings-up since.

 

It's a long, long time since I played it - in Mervyn Byers' time as organist - but I well remember that the reeds, at least, did not sound much like 1909 Hill. In general, it felt like a mid-twentieth century Hill, Norman & Beard organ. No criticism intended - they turned out some fine stuff (Holbrook School, Suffolk, for example) - but quite different from vintage Hill.

 

If it is restored, it will be interesting to see what stage of its existence is taken as the basis.

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OK, so I went in at lunchtime, and spoke to a choir member, who was having coffee. and YES they have the organ. Yes its in the building, and NO, its not installed, they are waiting for the builder to make a start (so they said, hmmmm), its in store in one of the side isles. will update next month when I go back there

 

Peter

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

 

 

It seems to me, that plaving an organ in the nave at Selby, simply reverses the problem, and will render most music inaudible in the Chancel. (The St.Mary's, Harrogate organ is neither large nor particularly powerful by the way, but spoke into an excellent, spacious acoustic.....church by Temple Moore as at St.Wilfrid's further up the town?)

 

MM

 

By Walter Tapper, in fact, though almost as fine as Temple Moore's masterpiece a short distance away. At least the St Mary's organ has been saved from the skip, as has the carillon of 8 bells which will find a new home in the NW tower at Ripon Cathedral.

 

Over the last 10-15 years Selby Abbey have done a remarkable job in raising around £6m to secure the fabric of the building; it is a shame the organ seems to have been a bridge too far.

 

JS

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By Walter Tapper, in fact, though almost as fine as Temple Moore's masterpiece a short distance away. At least the St Mary's organ has been saved from the skip, as has the carillon of 8 bells which will find a new home in the NW tower at Ripon Cathedral.

 

Over the last 10-15 years Selby Abbey have done a remarkable job in raising around £6m to secure the fabric of the building; it is a shame the organ seems to have been a bridge too far.

 

JS

 

 

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

 

 

Thanks for the information John. The information I got probably dates back 45 years, and the informant is long gone. However, I recall a very splendid church indeed and a nice Harrison organ of a certain vintage.

 

MM

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Without voicing an opinion about the nave organ, I feel inclined to pose a question about the 'Hill'.

 

Is it?

 

HNB restored it in 1930 and moved some of the departments. They rebuilt it in 1950 with a new console. There have been sundry but major peppings-up since.

 

It's a long, long time since I played it - in Mervyn Byers' time as organist - but I well remember that the reeds, at least, did not sound much like 1909 Hill. In general, it felt like a mid-twentieth century Hill, Norman & Beard organ. No criticism intended - they turned out some fine stuff (Holbrook School, Suffolk, for example) - but quite different from vintage Hill.

 

If it is restored, it will be interesting to see what stage of its existence is taken as the basis.

 

 

---------------------------------------

 

 

We've discussed this previously, but whether the organ is just re-built as is, restored to the 1950's condition, or even taken back to 1909m there will still be the problem of the instrument making much of an impact down the rather narrow, high Norman nave. It's just an awkward building acoustically, and it is only in the choir that the organ's true colours can be heard. The choir, with the Lady Chapel beyond, is of considerable length, and that is possibly the source of the problem, with much of the sound from the organ disappearing into the far distance.

 

Possbly the only solution is a siting such as Chester Cathedral, but that would be a real problem from a choral point of view.

 

MM

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OK, so I went in at lunchtime, and spoke to a choir member, who was having coffee. and YES they have the organ. Yes its in the building, and NO, its not installed, they are waiting for the builder to make a start (so they said, hmmmm), its in store in one of the side isles. will update next month when I go back there

 

Peter

 

 

Thank you for this information Peter.

I'd be much obliged if you could inform us again next time you go to Selby.

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