Jump to content
Mander Organs
innate

Regals and other Schnarrwerk

Recommended Posts

Prompted by comments on other threads I wondered if it might be worth starting a thread all about regals and their close relatives, their beauty, form and function.

 

Cited as good is that on the Aubertin box organ in St John's College, Oxford.

 

Bad, or worse, are the now landfilled one from the Collins organ in Brasenose, Oxford and the (later addition to) the old instrument in Carisbrooke Castle, IOW.

 

What do the panel think about the Messingregal 16' at New College, Oxford?

 

What other examples are there in the UK of this once significant component of the old German organs?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Prompted by comments on other threads I wondered if it might be worth starting a thread all about regals and their close relatives, their beauty, form and function.

 

Cited as good is that on the Aubertin box organ in St John's College, Oxford.

 

Bad, or worse, are the now landfilled one from the Collins organ in Brasenose, Oxford and the (later addition to) the old instrument in Carisbrooke Castle, IOW.

 

What do the panel think about the Messingregal 16' at New College, Oxford?

 

What other examples are there in the UK of this once significant component of the old German organs?

There's a fine 16' regal on the Brustwerk on Clifton Cathedral's Rieger. In a big chorus it adds a whiff of sub-unison, as if a quiet 5 1/3 flue is playing (Kynaston made use of it like that in his famous Bach disc). It could never pretend to create a 'full swell' effect, especially with the Swell mixture being a universe away in pitch. But as a solo voice it is fine, either alone or with a flute or two; as a bass voice, it is also useful (in combination with 8 & 4 flutes, for example), but doesn't speak very quickly so that rules out some obvious potential uses. But the wretched thing was seldom in tune and despite being able to tune it whilst sitting at the console, it was always too much trouble...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Bad, or worse, are the now landfilled one from the Collins organ in Brasenose, Oxford and the (later addition to) the old instrument in Carisbrooke Castle, IOW.

Oh, now that's not fair. I never said the Carisbrooke Regal was bad, only that I couldn't see how it was intended to be used. I actually remember thinking the sound a fairly pleasant example of its type. It was rather slow speaking compared to the flutes, but maybe its being nearly 400 years old had something to do with that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have come across *VERY* few good regals on recent instruments, especially on these shores. To me, many of them are far too thin, brittle and variable in tone and tuning to be of much use but this is probably more to do with the aesthetics of time when they were built than the skills of the builder.

 

Most of the historic treatises on registration recommend a foundation stop, such as a bourdon, is always drawn with a Vox Humana and this is wise advice, especially with the rather anaemic regals found on many instruments built over the past 50 years.

 

The Vox Humana (Flentrop) at Dunblane Cathedral is a good example of Dutch practice.

Willis I Vox Humanas are usually very good.

The Vox Humana at Adlington Hall (which I've only heard in a recording) is good. It can be heard here: http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/NPaudio.cgi...Code=3&No=3, although I wish it had been drawn with something else to fill the sound out - it doesn't sound quite right to my ears by itself. I've always liked the Bassoon on this organ too: http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/NPaudio.cgi...ode=3&No=12

 

The Vox Humanas of J.C.Mueller (Waalsekerk, and Beverwijk) are *extremely* fine. Beautiful examples at both these churches, both of which highlight their extreme sensitivity to touch and wind supply. The Haarlem example is OK too but let down by the decreased pressures and 1960s soundboards, action and wind supply. The effects of these factors are often overlooked or misunderstood on these stops. An afternoon getting to grips with the Vox Humana at Beverwijk is a frustrating but ultimately rewarding experience as you get to grips first hand with the interplay between touch, managing the wind supply and using these effects to aid the music. This lesson could not be learnt on an organ with a Schwimmer-based wind system.

 

I have come across some fine examples of French Classical Voix Humaines. Here is an example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VI1f7_V75GA

I wish more builders of neo-classical instruments had aimed for this more full-bodied, rich and beautifully finished style of Regal, which this clip beautifully demonstrates, because I think there would then be more understanding of the place, use and function of these stops in the UK.

 

Vox: your Carisbrooke example could be used in the Spanish style, with the bass half of the instrument playing several contrapuntal lines and the Vox Humana playing the cantus firmus in the right hand. The tientos of Spanish composers demonstrate how this is done - quite frequently the right hand plays 2 parts - the cantus firmus on the solo in the treble half of the instrument and another part that never goes above Mid C.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love the Messingregal at NC. It sounds sufficiently like a small-to-medium electrical current being passed through a duck without causing gales of laughter. I love all the manual reeds on that instrument, actually.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Vox: your Carisbrooke example could be used in the Spanish style, with the bass half of the instrument playing several contrapuntal lines and the Vox Humana playing the cantus firmus in the right hand. The tientos of Spanish composers demonstrate how this is done - quite frequently the right hand plays 2 parts - the cantus firmus on the solo in the treble half of the instrument and another part that never goes above Mid C.

Thanks for that suggestion, Colin. Yes, you're right. I have just tried one or two Spanish pieces on my toaster using an 8' right hand reed and a 4' left hand flute and it does seem to work providing that there is never less than an octave between the solo part and the bass. You still tend to get inversion of the inner parts, but when the left hand is just a loosely chordal texture the effect doesn't seem too offensive and perhaps Renaissance performers were not too fussy anyway.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Regal (16') now on the Oberwerk that, until 1983, was on the Brustwerk at York University was a pretty fearsome sound.

 

I remember standing in the hall in about 1970/71 with an old organist who had been a pupil of Bairstow. "I don't care what Mr. ****** says, it's not a musical sound" she exclaimed!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I have obtained permission of the copyright owner to publish a chopped-up sound sampler of this as yet unpublished CD. In roughly 10 second snippets, you have - Flute 4, Flute 8, Flutes 8 and 4, 842, 8421, 8421.... and Rrrrregal.

 

Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!

 

Very nice - please do let us know when the rest is available!

 

A

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very cute David / Hecklephone. Thanks for that. It sounds very pretty. Any chance of hearing the Regal avec Bourdon 8 seule?

 

@Vox: Yes, sometimes using a 4ft bass and 8ft solo in the treble you do get the accompaniment going higher than the solo line. Not to worry - the Vox Humana should be quite a strong voice in this style of music and besides, Bach's lines often cross in his fugues. Just thinking about it, the French Harmoniums used similar devices - a 16ft voice above middle c and a 4ft voice in the treble so you could do two voices on the same keyboard. All clever stuff.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Patrick Coleman
I have obtained permission of the copyright owner to publish a chopped-up sound sampler of this as yet unpublished CD. In roughly 10 second snippets, you have - Flute 4, Flute 8, Flutes 8 and 4, 842, 8421, 8421.... and Rrrrregal.

 

Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!

 

Like it :mellow: - but only in someone else's church... :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Very cute David / Hecklephone. Thanks for that. It sounds very pretty. Any chance of hearing the Regal avec Bourdon 8 seule?

 

@Vox: Yes, sometimes using a 4ft bass and 8ft solo in the treble you do get the accompaniment going higher than the solo line. Not to worry - the Vox Humana should be quite a strong voice in this style of music and besides, Bach's lines often cross in his fugues. Just thinking about it, the French Harmoniums used similar devices - a 16ft voice above middle c and a 4ft voice in the treble so you could do two voices on the same keyboard. All clever stuff.

 

Hi

 

Small point - but important - French Harmoniums split the keyboard at f#/g above middle c. It's American organs (suction reed organs) that often have a mid. b/c split. The Cesar Frank Harmonium pieces that I posted recently on You Tube (see the You Tube thread on this board, or go to my channel - Rev Tony Newnham) demonstrate exactly this effect. The 2nd & 3rd movements both use 16 ft treble and 4ft bass - one is mainly lf melody with rh accompaniment, the other has a section that uses the two sounds in contrast, much as you would use 2 manuals, plus solo/accomp sections.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Quoting Werckmeister:

 

Schnarrwerk, ist unterweilen Narrwerck

Ist est aber rein and guth so er frischtes Herz und Muth

 

Schnarrwerk is often the work of fools,

but when it is pure and good it rejoices heart and mind.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Praetorius also warned against "rattling" Regals.

He insisted on the shallots to be leathered. Dont acte...

(Confer "de Organographia")

 

Pierre

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Somewhere buried deep I have an LP of Reinhardt Menger playing lots of different regals (mostly desk or bible regals) from a museum in Germany. It has been my recent life's work to try to find this on CD but no luck so far. Yes, they sound rough but most on this record are hundreds of years old, and the choice of repertoire is wonderful.

 

ATG (a self confessed regals-phile)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Somewhere buried deep I have an LP of Reinhardt Menger playing lots of different regals (mostly desk or bible regals) from a museum in Germany. It has been my recent life's work to try to find this on CD but no luck so far. Yes, they sound rough but most on this record are hundreds of years old, and the choice of repertoire is wonderful.

 

ATG (a self confessed regals-phile)

That's what I want to hear too! Would I be right in thinking they would be appropriate for the Buxheimer pieces?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The only British en-chamade regal I am aware of was on the now removed organ built by our hosts for Jesus College, Cambridge. Did anyone hear/play that one or know what has become of it. I re-collect that it was going to a school in Cornwall?

 

PJW

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
That's what I want to hear too! Would I be right in thinking they would be appropriate for the Buxheimer pieces?

 

From memory, yes, plus Cabezon, Praetorius, Pachelbel, the usual suspects. I will have to dig it out and get the record player going again.

 

ATG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...