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Earliest Example Of An Undulating Rank In An English Organ


pcnd5584
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I am interested to discover the earliest example of a genuine undulating rank in an English organ - be it a Vox Angelica, a Voix Céleste or any other nomenclature.

 

If anyone is interested in aiding my research, and who has access to relevant periodicals*, I would be most interested to learn the earliest example that can be found in this country.

 

Whilst I am not generous enough to promise a prize (with or without points) for the winner, I hope that a cosy, warm glow in your heart, secure in the knowledge that you have selflessly aided another board contributor along the road to the goal of his quest will suffice.

 

Alternatively, if you really desire a reward for the sweat of your brow, then I can promise a free go on my own church organ - including a quick blast on one of the loudest chamade stops this side of the channel.

 

 

 

* That is, excluding such journals as Lego Builder Today, Nuns' Life or the rare Feng Shui for Middle-management.

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If it sheds light and as far as my memory goes, it crept northwards from Italy through Southern Germany and thence into France where Cavaillé-Coll I think introduced a Voix céleste on the unenclosed Positif of La Madeleine in Paris in 1846. I thought that England had its first taste (but have no knowledge of the organ) with henry Willis in the 1860's where it too was unenclosed on the Choir called Vox angelica and T.C. Lewis might have begun the tradition of positioning real strings on the Swell & he, at the end of that decade, was suggesting organs with two contrasting undulants.

 

 

Therefore, I imagine that we must trawl through the list of Henry Willis organs of that time and see what could be the answer. A good thing to do when the snows arrive!

 

Best wishes,

N

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If it sheds light and as far as my memory goes, it crept northwards from Italy through Southern Germany and thence into France where Cavaillé-Coll I think introduced a Voix céleste on the unenclosed Positif of La Madeleine in Paris in 1846. I thought that England had its first taste (but have no knowledge of the organ) with henry Willis in the 1860's where it too was unenclosed on the Choir called Vox angelica and T.C. Lewis might have begun the tradition of positioning real strings on the Swell & he, at the end of that decade, was suggesting organs with two contrasting undulants.

 

 

Therefore, I imagine that we must trawl through the list of Henry Willis organs of that time and see what could be the answer. A good thing to do when the snows arrive!

 

Best wishes,

N

 

Thank you, Nigel. Indeed, the Italians were much quicker on the uptake than the British.

 

I hope to find some documentary evidence of such a rank around 1850 - so I shall keep looking. If you happen to discover any other leads, I shall receive them gratefully.

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This must have been before Cromwell, in a time when stops were doubled

in british organs; say, two 6' Diapasons (one on each side of the case), with

one slightly off-tune.... :P

 

As a reward you will cry: "Welcome, Herman"!!!!! :lol: :lol: :lol:

 

Pierre

 

Ha!

 

I have seen at least one (slightly home-made) organ, where the Salicional and its undulating partner were planted side by side on the Swell soundboard - and the person who had carried out this mildly suspect work subsequently wondered why he was unable to achieve a good, gentle beat between these ranks....

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The first notable organ by HW1 was Gloucester (1847) and this had a Vox Angelica in the Swell.

 

DW

 

But wasn't the Dulciana of 1847 then made into an undulant in a subsequent enlargement and called Vox Angelica, David? By my thinking there was no particular string on the Swell in the first Willis but had 2 Open Diapasons. Now there we could have had a Fiffaro had he experimented! (Wishful thoughts, here).

 

To show how things were moving on apace the 1867 instrument by Holdich for the Union Chapel and designed by one of those in the fore-front of British design (Gauntlett) and for his own use as a Congregational and accompanimental organ, he did not include any such stop. When it was shortly removed and installed by Holdich in my home town (1878), Hinckley it lost a few 'antiquated' stops like an Echo Dulciana Cornet V on the Swell and a Voix célestes put in its stead. We may assume how swiftly fashions were changing. Furthermore Gauntlett's replacement new organ by Williis (for his assistant, Prout?) of 1877 for the Union Chapel possessed a Vox angelica. However, Gauntlett died the year before it was built, but I wonder whether he was part of the designing in the years in-between when the new chapel was being built.

 

best wishes,

N

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And yet I forget Sir Frederick Arthur Gore Ouseley at Tenbury. He was an extraordinary figure and perhaps less known as a designer than he should. I feel sure that he had a Celeste quite early on at St Michael's College on the Choir. This must have mid-1850's & before Willis went there in 1873, when his reconstruction/rebuild removed the Celeste! Win some - lose some.

So if the Flight/Harrison organ of around 1854/5/6 was 'celestial', I imagine that his was the first in the land to have an undulant. He was a traveller and I think that he came across such stops on his early travels. Perhaps St Barnabas Pimlico had the first as Flight built that for Sir Frederick in about 1850. Anyone know?

N

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And still furthermore - I am tracing things through Sir Frederick (what a guy!) - his first Curacy was at St Paul's, Knightsbridge and Gray & Davidson in 1843 had put a Voix celestes on the Choir of that instrument. That then pre-dates Cav-Coll in Paris doesn't it as La Mad was 45/46? Therefore we may deduce that this was the first example and the UK led France by un moustache.

Can I claim my prize?

N

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The first notable organ by HW1 was Gloucester (1847) and this had a Vox Angelica in the Swell.

 

DW

 

By the conclusion of the 1888-89 work, certainly. However, I am unable to find any trace of this before this date. At the 1847 rebuild, the Swell had only two Open Diapason ranks, a Stopped Diapason and a Dulciana for the 8ft. stops.

 

But thank you for your reply, David.

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And still furthermore - I am tracing things through Sir Frederick (what a guy!) - his first Curacy was at St Paul's, Knightsbridge and Gray & Davidson in 1843 had put a Voix celestes on the Choir of that instrument. That then pre-dates Cav-Coll in Paris doesn't it as La Mad was 45/46? Therefore we may deduce that this was the first example and the UK led France by un moustache.

Can I claim my prize?

N

 

Aha - now this date is indeed good. The NPOR also agrees with you - thank you.

 

And, yes, of course you can claim your prize....

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As already mentionned, here is the original:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDVsvPZv-vo...feature=related

 

By the way, when Eugen Casparini went back in Silesia from Italy,

he brought the Principale and the Voce umana with him....It was

circa 1700.

Italian stops already existed before him in german-speaking Europe, in border areas,

in hybrid style organs.

Casparini tried to combine a german Plenum with Ripieno parts....And

got something else in the end.

The italian Principal is sweeter than the german one, and Casparini had

the first "soft stops" also, complementing the louder ones.

His Görlitz organ had two undulants, a Voce umana (named "Vox humana"!)

und an "Ondamaris", whose wooden pipes are the only that still exist today.

 

Germany became an Unda-Maris party soon afterwards. But after 1750, these

stops fell into disgrace there, and were suppressed. The taste came back relatively late

in the 19th century, to the point Walcker built his first Voix céleste towards the end

of his life, and this, in an organ built for Alsace !

 

Pierre

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As already mentionned, here is the original:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDVsvPZv-vo...feature=related

 

By the way, when Eugen Casparini went back in Silesia from Italy,

he brought the Principale and the Voce umana with him....It was

circa 1700.

Italian stops already existed before him in german-speaking Europe, in border areas,

in hybrid style organs.

Casparini tried to combine a german Plenum with Ripieno parts....And

got something else in the end.

The italian Principal is sweeter than the german one, and Casparini had

the first "soft stops" also, complementing the louder ones.

His Görlitz organ had two undulants, a Voce umana (named "Vox humana"!)

und an "Ondamaris", whose wooden pipes are the only that still exist today.

 

Germany became an Unda-Maris party soon afterwards. But after 1750, these

stops fell into disgrace there, and were suppressed. The taste came back relatively late

in the 19th century, to the point Walcker built his first Voix céleste towards the end

of his life, and this, in an organ built for Alsace !

 

Pierre

 

The famous (and well restored) Johann David Sieber organ of St. Michael in Vienna from 1714 has a stop "Bifflöten" which undulates to the Principal, as an italian Voce umana would do. Charles Burney visited this place and his records proof, that he was introduced to the organ. And certainly, he will heard V. um. in Italy, where he travelled through before Austria. He might have brought the knowledge home, but mabe nobody was interested, or he did not like/mention/understand it...

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Ha!

 

I have seen at least one (slightly home-made) organ, where the Salicional and its undulating partner were planted side by side on the Swell soundboard - and the person who had carried out this mildly suspect work subsequently wondered why he was unable to achieve a good, gentle beat between these ranks....

 

So if the organ has a two-rank Celeste controlled by one stop knob, presumably the ranks are placed side by side?

I guess this would be easier than having to add another stop action for the second rank, but then the problem of one rank pulling the other into tune would probably occur.

 

JA

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It should be borne in mind that one can encounter late 19C/early 20C organs in which the mechanism is so arranged that drawing the undulant also draws the string and cancelling the string also cancels the undulant. This was standard practice on the organs of Alexander Young (where the stops themselves move) and can be found on the organs of Conacher (where the linkage is made at the sliders and there is no visible indication at the console). Clearly, if the linkage is at the sliders rather than at the console, then the ranks must be placed side by side.

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It should be borne in mind that one can encounter late 19C/early 20C organs in which the mechanism is so arranged that drawing the undulant also draws the string and cancelling the string also cancels the undulant. This was standard practice on the organs of Alexander Young (where the stops themselves move) and can be found on the organs of Conacher (where the linkage is made at the sliders and there is no visible indication at the console). Clearly, if the linkage is at the sliders rather than at the console, then the ranks must be placed side by side.

 

At Exeter Cathedral, drawing the Swell Voix Céleste (actually the old Choir Vox Angelica) also draws the slide (but not the stop-head) of the Salicional (also formerly on the Choir Organ).

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Vox Angelicas are not always tuned as celestes, as on some organs they are tuned as on pitch ranks - often there is no other stop with which to 'Celeste' them.

I believe that is the case here. The Vox Angelica is tuned on pitch and the Voix Celeste is the undulating stop - I think it's that way around.

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Vox Angelicas are not always tuned as celestes, as on some organs they are tuned as on pitch ranks - often there is no other stop with which to 'Celeste' them.

 

Yes, we have an example of this in Timaru. The organ is a two manual made up from various different parts of redundant organs with the swell having Open Diap8, Vox angelica 8, Lieblich flute 4 and Hautboy 8. I am pretty sure that the vox is tuned on pitch.

 

JA

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On the continent, the Vox angelica is most a soft Salicional,

not an undulating stop. Sometimes, it is even a reed stop

the kind of the Vox humana.

This is the form known in Belgium (Pierre Schyven) under the

name "Voix angélique". Schyven built it as a free-reed stop.

 

It would be interesting to know how Willis develloped his own version

as a celeste.

 

Pierre

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Vox Angelicas are not always tuned as celestes, as on some organs they are tuned as on pitch ranks.

 

 

At Exeter Cathedral, drawing the Swell Voix Céleste (actually the old Choir Vox Angelica) also draws the slide (but not the stop-head) of the Salicional (also formerly on the Choir Organ).

 

 

It would be interesting to know how common this practice was.

 

There's an excellent example of this on the untouched 3M Bevington at All Saints, Hunters Hill in Sydney

Organ - All Saints', Hunters Hill

My memory is a little hazy but I seem to recall pulling the Voix Celeste brings the Vox Angelica on with it.

These two stops were apparently singled out for praise by Edward Hopkins while in the Bevington factory.

 

 

Swell

16 Double Open Diapason

8 Open Diapason

8 Hohl Flöte

8 Bell Gamba

8 Voix Celeste

8 Vox Angelica

4 Principal

4 Harmonic Flute

II Mixture

8 Cornopean

8 Oboe

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