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No, I meant that - for example - an English Swell Open Diapason has never been intended to equal the Great one, the chorus of the Swell is usually slightly more modestly proportioned (a Gt of 884432 might have a Sw of 884), and somewhere between 60-80% of the Great's power. This is broadly true of the first Swell organs (e.g. Clerkenwell), throughout the Victorian time, into the Downes era and out the other side.

 

It is only broadly true, and only to the extent that it is a recognisable English feature just as the peculiarities of French and German organs are identifiable to themselves, however they may differ one to the next.

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No, I meant that - for example - an English Swell Open Diapason has never been intended to equal the Great one, the chorus of the Swell is usually slightly more modestly proportioned (a Gt of 884432 might have a Sw of 884), and somewhere between 60-80% of the Great's power. This is broadly true of the first Swell organs (e.g. Clerkenwell), throughout the Victorian time, into the Downes era and out the other side.

 

It is only broadly true, and only to the extent that it is a recognisable English feature just as the peculiarities of French and German organs are identifiable to themselves, however they may differ one to the next.

 

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

 

I can see where you're coming from with this, but surely, any chorus placed in louvred box must, by definition, be less powerful, even if the voicing and scaling are identical?

 

I've never had to worry about scaling and voicing choruses, but to achieve balance between a Great and Swell , must require considerable differences between them, surely?

 

I know an example of a Choir Salicional by Brindley & Foster, from around 1880, which is marked "Open 2" and of identical scale to the Great No.2 Diapason, yet it sounds much quieter in a box.

 

The Swell on the Armley Schulze may contain Cornet registers and thin-toned reeds, but it's not a million miles away from what Hill was doing after 1840/50. I would have thought the the bigger difference is to be found in the Great Chorus, which is just colossal. The same was probably true of Doncaster PC as originally conceived.

 

The "Englishness" of the Swell division is also brought into question by an organ built by Carl Bucholz in Romania, which has not one, but two expressive divisions, and to all intents and purposes, a full reed chorus on each. It pre-dates anything built by Cavaille-Coll, and Bucholz was German.

 

I'll see if I can find the relevant clips on YouTube, which surprised me when I watched them.

 

MM

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:lol: Glad to be back!

 

Serious question... I'm going to attempt a serious answer:

 

Have we a national style? I believe so.

IMHO It is dictated by three things: our buildings, our choirs and our musical tastes.

Please forgive several sweeping statements that follow.

 

Our buildings

The majority of our churches are smaller than their equivalents in the rest of Europe. Take a typical town centre church - over here both height and suitable space for an organ will be harder to find. Not only that, our acoustic is also less than one would usually get abroad even if there are not soft cushions and carpet everywhere. Because of these two things, there has always been a premium on our builders being able to produce rich organ tone without coarse edges. Nothing refines tone more than a lofty position and a good echo - the organs many of us admire abroad invariably have both going for them.

 

Choirs

Saving the USA, the ideal that an organ should be sufficiently flexible and subtly voiced as to blend perfectly with voices is a unique need here. This is why, in their day, there was nothing finer than an Arthur Harrison. While our cathedrals and major parish churches all want to maintain a broad organ-accompanied repertoire, colourful well-blended instruments with excellent swell enclosures are a must. For parishes without choirs, any new organ has to be able to give a clear lead without in any way appearing to yell!

 

Musical tastes

Many UK organists play relatively little of our own 'native' repertoire but we are avid explorers of everyone else's. Having obtained those elusive mutations in cack-handed rebuilds of thirty and forty years ago, the trend has moved towards ambitious organists craving all-out 'Cavaille-Coll-style' reed work.

 

 

So, what should a new organ have? Studying specifications as they appear, many firms definitely have what amounts to their 'standard' schemes, indeed there is evolving a sort of consensus between many firms as regards the basics. Some have written that this is a dull trend but I disagree provided that the instruments themselves are voiced in a confident, singing style. It is a fact that organs change much less frequently than organists! Thank goodness it is getting rarer to see eccentric schemes carried out to please odd organists who have used their prominent local standing to demand an expensive rebuild, leaving behind headaches for those who come after. That this happens less is probably down to the beneficial influence of a number of experienced advisers. It would be invidious to name names here.

 

You could always tell a Cecil Clutton design by the provision (on paper) of all the necessary ingredients for playing French Classical repertoire. The big question has to be, how often is that an essential?

 

Given enough room and finance what would everyone choose now? I would venture in order of importance

1. Two balanced manual choruses

2. A department under expression, with more than one 8' flue stop if at all possible

3. Good quality reed-work, with a manual trumpet and a 16' pedal reed being the critical ones to specify early on

4. Colour stops - Strings, Cremona/Clarinet, Oboe, solo mutations - as many as room and funds allow

 

An interesting trend has put the Tierce on the Great in many new schemes, and I applaud this. Provided that the specification has not been pruned so far that there is no longer a Twelfth, a perfectly good Sesquialtera, German or English-style Cornet can be made up. Besides, adding a Tierce to your Quint Mixture gives an appreciable increase to the intensity and richness of the chorus.

 

Trends have seen the Celestes back into even quite small specifications - these are not a last-choice luxury in my opinion. They are a legitimate organ colour for which a vast amount of music has been written. At the very least, an organ so small that there are no strings should at least have a soft rank that responds seductively to a Tremulant.

 

Oboes have made a dignified return. Thirty and forty years ago two stops often disappeared at a rebuild, the swell 8' Oboe and the 16' Bourdon. Both are wonderful stops in accompaniment. Dull though Dulcianas are often thought to be, in a two manual organ there should always be something on the Great that is soft enough to accompany your main solo effect on the swell. A Stopped Diapason might do but a mild Salicional or Dulciana always will.

 

Why choose a Uk firm to build your organ?

Well, just take an unbiased ear with you and listen critically to some of the imports. These are getting less coarse with the years, but many remember what the Von Beckerath sounded like at Clare College, Cambridge when it first went in. Even toned down it is still very powerful. The Rieger at Christ Church, Oxford still sounds like nothing on earth when you've got it all cranked up. Our builders don't have to be told that reeds must blend and ought to stay in tune for longer than a week at a time. Our builders (mostly) know how to make a swell-box that shuts and a console that's comfortable and convenient in use.

 

The proof of the pudding is in the eating. About two years ago members of The Organ Club visited four organs in Cambridge on the same Saturday - five if you count a recital in Kings at the end of the afternoon. We heard and played the Goll at Jesus College, the Goetze and Gwynn at Magdalene, the Carsten Lund at Trinity Hall and the Kenneth Tickell at St.Mary the Less. The last of these could do anything that any of the others could do, it looked easily as nice (a great deal better than one!) and the reeds were the best-finished. I venture to suggest it might not have been the most expensive either!

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

 

I can see where you're coming from with this, but surely, any chorus placed in louvred box must, by definition, be less powerful, even if the voicing and scaling are identical?

 

I've never had to worry about scaling and voicing choruses, but to achieve balance between a Great and Swell , must require considerable differences between them, surely?

 

Why do you assume I am seeking a balance between Great and Swell? My whole point is that there ISN'T, and is no attempt to. That very point seems to me an English characteristic.

 

How nice to have Cynic back.

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Why do you assume I am seeking a balance between Great and Swell? My whole point is that there ISN'T, and is no attempt to. That very point seems to me an English characteristic.

 

How nice to have Cynic back.

 

 

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

 

 

First things first...........

 

Good to see "Cynic" back with us again.

 

Tonally balanced or unbalanced: perhaps even a very dominant Swell in many instancesl; there are Swells all over the world. This is what I can't understand.

 

They have English style Swell organs in America, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa and even the Czech Republic and Hungary. Poland even has Swell Organs and Tubas.

 

Why is it specifically English, even if it started off that way?

 

If there is one thing which defines "Englishness," then it has to do with organs being refined, with good quality chorus reeds and carefully supressed upperwork. That's more a product of English buildings, I would have thought.

 

I know what you mean, but I can't easily put my finger on it; at least as a unique phenomenon.

 

MM

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Again, we're not interested in Swells all over the world, or Schulze at Armley, or any of that; my original assertion was that the relationship between Swell and Great has remained broadly the same, which is to say that the Swell is generally quieter and has a less well developed chorus, but may have more reeds.

 

If you pop out in the morning and attend the nearest ten English-built organs to where you are, and 8 of them do not fit with this broad assertion, I'll eat my hat. The more vital defining point is that a French organ or German organ will not routinely show the same relationship. Or, again, if you encountered an 1880 Hill with a 20 stop Great, a 15 stop Choir and a 2 stop Swell, you would think it a bit odd, but several million Frenchmen wouldn't bat an eyelid.

 

On edit - 'carefully supressed upperwork' has nothing to do with the English organs I know best. I suppose this to be more of a recent product of equal temperament.

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Again, we're not interested in Swells all over the world, or Schulze at Armley, or any of that; my original assertion was that the relationship between Swell and Great has remained broadly the same, which is to say that the Swell is generally quieter and has a less well developed chorus, but may have more reeds.

 

If you pop out in the morning and attend the nearest ten English-built organs to where you are, and 8 of them do not fit with this broad assertion, I'll eat my hat. The more vital defining point is that a French organ or German organ will not routinely show the same relationship. Or, again, if you encountered an 1880 Hill with a 20 stop Great, a 15 stop Choir and a 2 stop Swell, you would think it a bit odd, but several million Frenchmen wouldn't bat an eyelid.

 

On edit - 'carefully supressed upperwork' has nothing to do with the English organs I know best. I suppose this to be more of a recent product of equal temperament.

 

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

 

While we have a think about this, perhaps I may quote from the late Stephen Bicknell on the subject:-

 

 

A really good Hill organ of the 1860s would have had a flue chorus that would have

been admired by any German musician or builder, and yet it would have had a

tutti dominated by batteries of high-pressure reeds, just like a French

organ. With its enormous Swell organ and sophisticated console

arrangements, it was arguably more expressive and more colourful than

either. And yet its voice would have been quite identifiably British in

every detail.

 

Our attention must now turn to the Swell - the most important part of any

British organ! Well, I exaggerate, for it was only in the later romantic

period from 1900 on that the Swell organ really came to dominate the whole

instrument (and sometimes to house the only mixture on even three manual

organs), but it is still true to say that the Swell division is very nearly

as important as the Great - it is usually, in fact, a second Great organ in

a box. This is indeed exactly how it is used. Throughout the period of

this lecture the Swell to Great Coupler is more often on than off. The

Swell extends the possibilities of the Great organ and allows that

extraordinary British phenomenon - the 'build-up' - a seamless crescendo

from soft enclosed string tone at the start to full organ at the end, an

effect whose popularity still completely exceeds that of any other

registrational effect. It also, at its most extreme, allows the Great

organ to become so loud that parts of it can only be used for special

effects - but that you may judge for yourselves.

 

With these various methods at work, it is not surprising to find that

conventional upperwork has a limited role to play. Hill, Lewis, Walker and

some others always knew how to make good quint-and-unison mixtures and

continued to do so up to 1900; in the Willis organ the mixtures have become

narrow scaled Cornets, designed to bridge the gap in tone between the flues

and the reeds, not to be heard in their own right. It is not surprising to

find that once the development of ultra-smooth tone started around 1900

those few mixtures that survived were reduced until they were only

producing colour, and that of a rather acid kind.

 

MM

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MM, I don't see anything in the Bicknell passage which in any way contradicts anything I've been trying to get at. "Nearly as important as the Great - a second Great in a box." Precisely what I've been driving at by remarks about a slightly quieter and less complete chorus than the Great. I presume that you're just enjoying pressing buttons and getting me irritated. Whatever makes you happy!

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MM, I don't see anything in the Bicknell passage which in any way contradicts anything I've been trying to get at. "Nearly as important as the Great - a second Great in a box." Precisely what I've been driving at by remarks about a slightly quieter and less complete chorus than the Great. I presume that you're just enjoying pressing buttons and getting me irritated. Whatever makes you happy!

 

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

 

 

I'm sorry if organ details irritate you, but here are a couple more to contemplate. These are Swell organs stop-lists.

 

GREAT GEORGE STREET CONGREGATIONAL, LIVERPOOL, HILL 1841

 

Double Diapason 16

Open Diapason 8

Clarabella 8

Stopped Diapason 8

Dulciana 8

Principal 4

Harmonic Flute 4

Twelfth 2 2/3

Fifteenth 2

Flageolet 2

Sesquialtera III 17.19.22

Mixture II

Contra Fagotto 16

Corno di Bassetto 8

Cornopean 8

Trumpet 8

Oboe 8

Clarion 4

 

 

MANCHESTER, FREE TRADE HALL. 1857 KIRTLAND & JARDINE

 

Lieblich Bourdon 16

Open Diapason 8

Stopped Diapason 8

Salicional 8

Dulciana 8

Voix Celeste 8

Quint 5 1/3

Principal 4

Hohl Flote 4

Rohr Flote 4

Twelfth 2 2/3

Fifteenth 2

Mixture V

Euphone 16 Free

Cornopean 8

Oboe 8

Clarion 4

Octave Clarion 2

Vox Humana 8

 

 

The latter I never knew, but the former I played way back in the 1960's (In the company of and by courtesy of Henry Willis IV). That Swell Organ at Liverpool was the equal of the Great.

 

A common practice for Norman & Beard was to have the Swell flues at a higher wind pressure than those of the Great, and although I don't know of this is the case with a Hill, Norman & Beard rebuild (1929) of an earlier Hill organ at Ilkley, St Margaret's, the full Swell organ is utterly devastating at the console. Were it not for a subsequent re-build and the inclusion of more upperwork, the Swell would be utterly dominant, as it once was.

 

Then what about those re-builds where a Large Open Diapason has been discarded; resulting in a far better balance of Swell & Great?

 

I think Stephen Bicknell got it more or less right. The Swell organ in a British instrument is used in two ways, as (a) an expressive accompaniment/solo division on the one hand, and (b ) as part of the Great chorus by way of coupling.

 

As for Schulze being irrelevant, he certainly is not. The Schulze influence had a major impact on at least six or seven northern builders; some making a large number of instruments, such as Brindley, Forster & Andrews and J J Binns. Lest we forget, it is quite probable that an awful lot of Schulze's work was crafted in England by English builders, and some of it was voiced by at least one English voicer (Brindley).

 

MM

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I think Stephen Bicknell got it more or less right. The Swell organ in a British instrument is used in two ways, as (a) an expressive accompaniment/solo division on the one hand, and (b ) as part of the Great chorus by way of coupling.

The Swell is hardly part of the Great chorus and Bicknell doesn't claim it is. A chorus is a "vertical" selection of stops that fits together, preferably as snugly as a hand in a glove (as per Father Willis's Great diapasons, for example). It's the vertical fit that defines a chorus. I think what you are referring to here is not "chorus" but "ensemble". Whether English, French, German or American, all the Romantic Swell Organs I can think of (though at this time of night I'm not thinking very hard) are designed to complement the Great in a unified ensemble. But they are not all alike. In my limited experience the swells of modern German organs take their cue from the French Récit (presumably because repertoire takes precedence over choir accompaniment), while American Swells are nearer the English models. English Swells are less assertive, relative to the Great, than French (and German) ones, a point most organists begin to appreciate as soon as they encounter the last page of the Widor Toccata.

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The "Full Swell" in many british organs is something unheard of

-and indeed never heard- on the continent. It is indeed a chorus,

but not a "pure" one, because it is made with differing families

of stops (like, by the way, the organs Bach played!).

The example of St-Paul London is spectacular, and may serve as

a case study; there, the 16-8-4 reeds+ a three ranks Cornet are

enough to supersede any french Récit.

The french Récit is louder than the british one when closed. Then, it produces

a big "frying sausage" effect with its more "rattling" reeds. Rather than a muted sound,

it conveys an impression of restrained power, "I could eat you alive if...".

Once open, the reeds -as always- dominate anything else save the occasionnal Carillon.

In Worcester, the brick Swell was impressive for its dynamic range; from a mere whisper

to a thunder -those reeds were something rather special indeed-. Do not expect to find

anything like that elsewhere.

 

Those "Full Swells" belonged to the second Manual after the Great; here, again, the continental

Récit/ Schwellwerk is the third manual in importance. The answer to the Great was rather

the Positif, and, in Germany, with Abschwächungsprinzip organs whose manuals wore only numbers,

the Schwellwerk was the Manual III.

 

The St-Paul Full Swell, with its reed chorus and Cornet, is technically a "Grand-jeu". Dom Bédos

would have recognized it as such. Walcker and Cavaillé-Coll organs are bigs "Grand-jeux" as

a whole. In Britain, you need the Swell to Great coupler to get that, but you still have a

"pure" Diapason chorus available on the I, though not without the reeds whenever the

Mixture(s) is (are) drawn. One cannot have all.

 

Pierre

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Is there a discernible national style in the building of new instruments?

Being neither a player nor British, I would nevertheless like to add one aspect. There is a specifically English way of functional thinking in a stoplist, which comes in even before the stoplist is written out, and which within the last one or two decades became more and more dominant

internationally.

 

To think of a medium-to-large organ in terms of Great, Swell, Choir, Solo, and Pedal, each division with its specific function, is a very English thing. Great: the main chorus, rather big flutes, some chorus reeds; Swell: the secondary chorus, a full reed chorus and some colour reeds, strings and accompanimental flutes; Choir: maybe another chorus, but mainly rather soft flutes and strings for accompaniment, a Cremona and maybe a high-pressure reed; Solo: the loud stuff, extreme colours; Pedal: substantial basses, but more often than not some unification as well.

 

There are so many other ways of distributing choruses of principals, flutes, reeds, and strings over an organ, even if it is concert-style. For example, to put the secondary chorus on an unenclosed division and have two kinds of Swells, one of the Bombarde type, one more lyrical, and each with its own chorus, one slotted, the other one of string tone (as it was done several times, e. g., by Hans Gerd Klais in his day). There are the German romantic concepts of monumental organ tone based on two unenclosed Greats, as it was done by Ladegast, the Schulzes, or Reubke (father), a thinking that can be found in France as well, e. g. in Sainte-Clotilde, Paris, with its Positif up front and with full principal and reed choruses (with the Great divided on either side), put in front of a diminutive and lyrical Swell (as it once was). There is the late Werkprinzip. Speaking of which, don't forget the Echo and Brustwerk divisions people used to love so much forty or fifty years ago.

 

By now, most large new organs in cathedrals and international concert halls follow the English Gt-Sw-Ch-Solo model, be they built by American, German, Austrian, Swiss, French or indeed British builders. This, of course, doesn't tell anything about the style of voicing or even scaling involved. It concerns a way of functionally thinking up a stoplist.

 

Best,

Friedrich

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Quite!

 

Additionally, I find the two examples cited by MM to be a case of the exceptions proving the rule.

 

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

 

 

Only in the South, bless 'em! They were a bit slow to catch up with developments.

 

You wanted divisional, and now it's regional......dig up some roses Pierre.

 

MM

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

 

 

Only in the South, bless 'em! They were a bit slow to catch up with developments.

 

You wanted divisional, and now it's regional......dig up some roses Pierre.

 

MM

 

Is there already an "Arthur Harrison" Rose variety ?

 

Pierre

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Being neither a player nor British, I would nevertheless like to add one aspect. There is a specifically English way of functional thinking in a stoplist, which comes in even before the stoplist is written out, and which within the last one or two decades became more and more dominant

internationally.

 

To think of a medium-to-large organ in terms of Great, Swell, Choir, Solo, and Pedal, each division with its specific function, is a very English thing. Great: the main chorus, rather big flutes, some chorus reeds; Swell: the secondary chorus, a full reed chorus and some colour reeds, strings and accompanimental flutes; Choir: maybe another chorus, but mainly rather soft flutes and strings for accompaniment, a Cremona and maybe a high-pressure reed; Solo: the loud stuff, extreme colours; Pedal: substantial basses, but more often than not some unification as well.

 

There are so many other ways of distributing choruses of principals, flutes, reeds, and strings over an organ, even if it is concert-style. For example, to put the secondary chorus on an unenclosed division and have two kinds of Swells, one of the Bombarde type, one more lyrical, and each with its own chorus, one slotted, the other one of string tone (as it was done several times, e. g., by Hans Gerd Klais in his day). There are the German romantic concepts of monumental organ tone based on two unenclosed Greats, as it was done by Ladegast, the Schulzes, or Reubke (father), a thinking that can be found in France as well, e. g. in Sainte-Clotilde, Paris, with its Positif up front and with full principal and reed choruses (with the Great divided on either side), put in front of a diminutive and lyrical Swell (as it once was). There is the late Werkprinzip. Speaking of which, don't forget the Echo and Brustwerk divisions people used to love so much forty or fifty years ago.

 

By now, most large new organs in cathedrals and international concert halls follow the English Gt-Sw-Ch-Solo model, be they built by American, German, Austrian, Swiss, French or indeed British builders. This, of course, doesn't tell anything about the style of voicing or even scaling involved. It concerns a way of functionally thinking up a stoplist.

 

Best,

Friedrich

 

 

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

 

Thank you Friederich and Pierre. You have both brought the clarity for which I was striving, and de-confused the issue. (I like that word!)

 

I'm still not sure that a Swell organ ISN'T part of a Great chorus, because many Great organs are incomplete in England without the Swell organ being coupled; especially after 1900 or so, as Stephen Bicknell suggested. I suppose the main point is that the Swell Organ is a division standing alone, yet capbale of being a part of the Great when required.

 

Of course, there is another aspect of "Englishness," which if not unique, sets it apart from most others. It is the use of TWO enclosed divisions (Swell and Choir), where one box can open as another closes; the very essence of sensitive choral accompaniment, and in this age of Positive Organs, a skill almost lost by many organists to-day.

 

I'm not aure if this takes us any closer to understanding or even proposing a new English "method," but my mind is ticking-over, quietly contemplating two concepts........the tonal genius of T C Lewis on the one hand, and Dr Sidney Campbell's VERY clever design at St.George's, Windsor, now half-a-century old.

 

MM

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Well, dear MM, I slightly doubt we are about to spread any light on the

subject yet....

 

The evolution towards an incomplete Great, something like this:

 

GRAND ORGUE

 

Bourdon 8'

Montre 8'

Flûte harmonique 8'

Gambe 8'

Prestant 4'

 

RECIT

 

Quintaton 16'

Gambe 8'

Voix céleste 8'

Flûte traversière 8'

Flûte octaviante 4'

Quinte 3'

Octavin 2'

Plein-jeu 3r

Basson 16'

Trompette harmonique 8'

Clairon harmonique 4'

 

....Is a mean feature of little organs -up to medium ones sometimes-

of the Post-romantic period, and this, worldwide.

It seems the idea belongs to E-M Skinner. In "The modern organ", he explain

modern actions having suppressed the heavyness of touch, there obtain no

objection more to the frequent use of the couplers.

And as a reed chorus and Mixture offer more possibilities when enclosed, the bigger

voices are also "exported" towards an enclosed division.

There are still organs built after that model in Alsace, for example by Rinckenbach,

from the yars 1900-1910.

Same with the "Positif expressif" as a second enclosed division; this was very often made in France and Belgium from

about 1890 to 1940, from the late years of Cavaillé-Coll up to Maurice Delmotte.

 

Pierre

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Well, dear MM, I slightly doubt we are about to spread any light on the

subject yet....

 

The evolution towards an incomplete Great, something like this:

 

GRAND ORGUE

 

Bourdon 8'

Montre 8'

Flûte harmonique 8'

Gambe 8'

Prestant 4'

 

RECIT

 

Quintaton 16'

Gambe 8'

Voix céleste 8'

Flûte traversière 8'

Flûte octaviante 4'

Quinte 3'

Octavin 2'

Plein-jeu 3r

Basson 16'

Trompette harmonique 8'

Clairon harmonique 4'

 

....Is a mean feature of little organs -up to medium ones sometimes-

of the Post-romantic period, and this, worldwide.

It seems the idea belongs to E-M Skinner. In "The modern organ", he explain

modern actions having suppressed the heavyness of touch, there obtain no

objection more to the frequent use of the couplers.

And as a reed chorus and Mixture offer more possibilities when enclosed, the bigger

voices are also "exported" towards an enclosed division.

There are still organs built after that model in Alsace, for example by Rinckenbach,

from the yars 1900-1910.

Same with the "Positif expressif" as a second enclosed division; this was very often made in France and Belgium from

about 1890 to 1940, from the late years of Cavaillé-Coll up to Maurice Delmotte.

 

Pierre

 

This makes complete sense as a rationale. However, to my mind such 'exporting' does not quite work - the sound of pipes enclosed (even with the box open) differing profoundly from their sound when standing free.

 

Personally, I like the ability when two enclosed divisions are present to provide smoothly altering accompanimental tone colours when those divisions are coupled. Equally, I would favour a well-developed chorus on the great and on another unenclosed division.

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I'm still not sure that a Swell organ ISN'T part of a Great chorus, because many Great organs are incomplete in England without the Swell organ being coupled; especially after 1900 or so, as Stephen Bicknell suggested. I suppose the main point is that the Swell Organ is a division standing alone, yet capbale of being a part of the Great when required.

I think you are still failing to distinguish between chorus and ensemble. What you describe is the latter. Choruses are families of stops, whether diapason, flute, string or reed. Blending stops to provide "the whole sound" of the organ is a matter of ensemble. The fact that Romantic organs were voiced so that their effect is achieved through this well-blended ensemble does not make the all the constituents a chorus.

 

This makes complete sense as a rationale. However, to my mind such 'exporting' does not quite work - the sound of pipes enclosed (even with the box open) differing profoundly from their sound when standing free.

Normally yes, but this organ is an exception. This is one instrument where you could legitimately regard the Swell as part of the Great chorus. Like many other neo-classical instruments, it is effectively a one-manual organ spread over two keyboards. With the box open, the 8', 4' and 2' principals (the 2' being coupled down) form as perfect a chorus as you are likely to hear anywhere; it stands very favourable comparison with Bill Drake's organ at Bridgetown. The flutes are equally well integrated and balanced. If it wasn't for the very coarse reeds and over-assertive mutations (the mixtures are fine though) this would be near the top of my list of the best organs in Devon. I still rate it very highly even so.

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I'm sorry if organ details irritate you, but here are a couple more to contemplate. These are Swell organs stop-lists.

 

GREAT GEORGE STREET CONGREGATIONAL, LIVERPOOL, HILL 1841

 

Double Diapason 16

Open Diapason 8

Clarabella 8

Stopped Diapason 8

Dulciana 8

Principal 4

Harmonic Flute 4

Twelfth 2 2/3

Fifteenth 2

Flageolet 2

Sesquialtera III 17.19.22

Mixture II

Contra Fagotto 16

Corno di Bassetto 8

Cornopean 8

Trumpet 8

Oboe 8

Clarion 4

 

 

MANCHESTER, FREE TRADE HALL. 1857 KIRTLAND & JARDINE

 

Lieblich Bourdon 16

Open Diapason 8

Stopped Diapason 8

Salicional 8

Dulciana 8

Voix Celeste 8

Quint 5 1/3

Principal 4

Hohl Flote 4

Rohr Flote 4

Twelfth 2 2/3

Fifteenth 2

Mixture V

Euphone 16 Free

Cornopean 8

Oboe 8

Clarion 4

Octave Clarion 2

Vox Humana 8

 

 

The latter I never knew, but the former I played way back in the 1960's (In the company of and by courtesy of Henry Willis IV). That Swell Organ at Liverpool was the equal of the Great.

 

A common practice for Norman & Beard was to have the Swell flues at a higher wind pressure than those of the Great, and although I don't know of this is the case with a Hill, Norman & Beard rebuild (1929) of an earlier Hill organ at Ilkley, St Margaret's, the full Swell organ is utterly devastating at the console. Were it not for a subsequent re-build and the inclusion of more upperwork, the Swell would be utterly dominant, as it once was.

 

Then what about those re-builds where a Large Open Diapason has been discarded; resulting in a far better balance of Swell & Great?

 

I think Stephen Bicknell got it more or less right. The Swell organ in a British instrument is used in two ways, as (a) an expressive accompaniment/solo division on the one hand, and (b ) as part of the Great chorus by way of coupling.

 

As for Schulze being irrelevant, he certainly is not. The Schulze influence had a major impact on at least six or seven northern builders; some making a large number of instruments, such as Brindley, Forster & Andrews and J J Binns. Lest we forget, it is quite probable that an awful lot of Schulze's work was crafted in England by English builders, and some of it was voiced by at least one English voicer (Brindley).

 

MM

 

Oh, MM - you get so tangled up. I think you possibly misread my first post and are now determined to make me concede a point which doesn't exist. Organ details do not irritate me. This is probably irritating everyone else though, and others seem to understand what my original point was.

 

For Schulze being irrelevant - I didn't say he was. He is however largely irrelevant to a discussion about what defines a British style of organ building because he was not an British organ builder. He may have influenced others, but so have Schnitger and Cavialle-Coll, and we're not talking about them either.

 

You list some Swell stoplists. These are as nothing unless compared with the Great. I did this through the NPOR and discovered that in both cases, indeed, the Great chorus (as Vox says, vertical from 16-Mixtures) is bigger, as I have been suggesting; both Greats start with a metal 16 and the Swells with a wooden one. Both Greats have more than one Open Diapason. Both Greats have more mutations, and the function of some of those mutations is different. Yes, pressures may be higher to overcome enclosure - my own Harrison has a Swell Open with leathered lips on 9" wind - but it's still quieter than the Great.

 

This whole topic began with a broad question about what, broadly speaking, characteristics could be said to be quintessentially English - broadly speaking. I responded that, amongst other things, a typical Swell chorus is typically slightly smaller than a typical Great chorus, in part due to its enclosure. Typically, that is true of the majority of instruments, as you will discover if you make it a point of pride to always draw the largest 842 on the Swell and the largest 842 on the Great and attempt to play a trio sonata. That's a characteristic of interrelation between divisions which you'd be unlikely to find on an organ from elsewhere. You've done nothing except misunderstand basic points and then furnish me with examples which I believe prove my original supposition right.

 

It's sad that you and I are just destined to clash. I don't have the particular personality traits to just sit back and ignore when I believe someone is challenging me incorrectly, on even the most trivial of things. I'm sorry that a very interesting and provoking subject has once again been hi-jacked by my failings in this regard and I hope order can be restored by my, yet again, beating the retreat.

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Is it relevant to mention that Lemare insisted that the Swell be louder than the Great on some instrument he was involved with planning (maybe St Margaret's Westminster)? Apologies if Lemare never said anything of the kind.

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Peace on Earth ! If we all agreed upon any dedicate idea, what would we do here

save social entertainment ?

The paradoxes, the contradictions, are the food of any debate. One learns nothing

without opposition; actually, we must thank the people who oppone us, because they help

us to go further in our own learning process.

 

Back to the topic now !

 

Pierre

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