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Pierre Lauwers

Dupré and the Mixtures

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I cite Cynic on another thread:

 

"There was huge surprise when Marcel Dupre first played Bach in London - and the surprise? It was because Dupre was heard to draw the whole Diapason chorus to Mixture and didn't have any reeds on to 'cover' the mixture! It is a fact that organ-builders of the time may not have voiced their Mixtures for use with only fluework at all!! Puts your typical Willis 17-19-22 into context, doesn't it?"

 

(Quote)

 

And it provides the opportunity for a new thread about the influence of Dupré, worldwide,

upon some neo-baroque ideas that were a mistake as far as the baroque organ is concerned.

 

1)- When Dupré registred that way in London, one may wonder if those upper ranks were

in tune, not filled with dust etc. As Cynic pointed out, even provided with a fine Lewis organ,

the organists seldom used anything above 4'...In the french romantic repertoire, there

is no mention of any Mixture at all up to the Widor's 10th Symphony (Romane) !

Cavaillé-Coll organs had Mixtures, though. Fournitures, Cymbales, Cornets, Carillons,

Progressions harmoniques, Mutations ranks (Notre-Dame Paris, Septièmes included),

he built them all, and often took them over while rebuilding ancient organs.

 

2) The way Dupré used the Mixtures is an idiosyncratic, specifically french one; I seriously doubt

Bach registred that way. It goes back to the french organ of the 18th century, with its strictly codified

"Plein-jeu".

 

3)- Such a thing did not exist elsewhere at the same epoch. It is thrilling to hear Michel Chapuis,

on a belgian Baroque organ which pre-dates the french influence here, draw the Mixture, the Sesquialter,

and the Cornet, all togheter, and then end up with the Trompette added !

The same is of course true with the orggans in central Germany, with the notable exception of the

frenchified Silbermann organs (why do you think the neo-baroque opinion leaders knew only them among

the dozens of baroque organ builders in that area?)

 

So it might be interesting to gather here the deeds and sayings of Dupré in Britain about that matter, so that

we could grasp his influence upon the evolution of the organ-design there.

 

Pierre

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.... 1)- When Dupré registred that way in London, one may wonder if those upper ranks were

in tune, not filled with dust etc. ....

 

Pierre

 

To reply to just one point (purely because I am about to go out to work) - I doubt it. The organ in question was probably that at Westminster Cathedral (where Dupré played the entire organ works of Bach, from memory, in a series of recitals). This instrument was still in the process of completion (it was built over ten years or so). The particular mixture in question was also probably the G.O. Grand Chorus (15-19-22-26-29 at CC). I should think that it was highly unlikely that the pipes were 1) out of tune or 2) dusty - as far as I am aware, there was no structural work taking place in the building at this time - the interior scheme of mosaics has yet to be completed.

 

I am aware that he also gave recitals on other instruments in London (the Alexandra Palace, the Queen's Hall, for example). However, from what I can recall by reading contemporary accounts, it was the superb Willis III organ of Westminster Cathedral which prompted this comment.

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It was said that, because Dupre had promised Widor not to allow it to be altered in any way, the organ at St-Sulpice was in such a state during his time there that the mixtures were too starved of wind to speak in full combinations - but this may have been when the reeds were on.

 

Harry Coles, who had a life-long association with Southwark Cathedral (as chorister and later lay-clerk - he sang at two Coronations), used to tell of an assistant organist who worked the Lewis up to terrific climaxes but never drew anything above 4' pitch.

 

I'm not sure that uncovered mixtures were quite as unusual as is sometimes maintained. Some writers, such as Reginald Whitworth, used to say that the 17.19.22 mixture 'led to the reeds', which infers that it was drawn at least before the chorus reeds (but maybe not before the Oboe), and Harry Bramma certainly used the Harmonics at Worcester without reed support.

 

However, since it was the norm to have the Swell coupled to the Great (I suppose this originated with Cavaille-Coll and was passed on by Father Willis), it would have been unusual for the Great mixture to come on until a fair amount of Swell, including the reeds, had been drawn.

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...In the french romantic repertoire, there is no mention of any Mixture at all up to the Widor's 10th Symphony (Romane)! Cavaillé-Coll organs had Mixtures, though.

It may be true that, up to the "Romane", no French romantic score ever did mention "mixtures", "Pleins-Jeux" or anything like. However, I was under the impression that the word "Anches" could be read as referring both to reeds (proper meaning) and to the part of the soundboard that gets wind when the "Appel des Anches" piston is activated, and which usually carried, along with the chorus reeds, stops above 4', including Quinte, Doublette, Fourniture, Cymbale and/or Plein Jeu (and sometimes a more harmonically rich 4' as well).

 

So, "Anches" needs to be interpreted depending on the instrument at hands. If it is specified as "Anches 8", the case is clear. If the score says "Anches 16, 8, 4" or just "Anches" there is room for interpretation: May this include the higher chorus ranks as well? Do they suit the music, room, and instrument?

 

Even for Cavaillé-Coll at his most extreme -- perhaps the years around the Sainte-Clotilde organ --, there are very few instruments larger than an Orgue-de-choeur that do not include a full chorus. Saint-Roch did not have one on the Great, but there was one on the very complete Positif-de-dos (18 stops, including three chorus mixtures and a Celeste). These organs were built, loved, and recommended with their choruses. It would be a bit bold to infer -- as Pierre doesn't, but hints at --, from the scores of the French romantics, that the Pleins-Jeux were not used.

 

Best,

Friedrich

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I cite Cynic on another thread:

 

"There was huge surprise when Marcel Dupre first played Bach in London - and the surprise? It was because Dupre was heard to draw the whole Diapason chorus to Mixture and didn't have any reeds on to 'cover' the mixture! It is a fact that organ-builders of the time may not have voiced their Mixtures for use with only fluework at all!! Puts your typical Willis 17-19-22 into context, doesn't it?"

 

(Quote)

 

And it provides the opportunity for a new thread about the influence of Dupré, worldwide,

upon some neo-baroque ideas that were a mistake as far as the baroque organ is concerned.

 

1)- When Dupré registred that way in London, one may wonder if those upper ranks were

in tune, not filled with dust etc. As Cynic pointed out, even provided with a fine Lewis organ,

the organists seldom used anything above 4'...In the french romantic repertoire, there

is no mention of any Mixture at all up to the Widor's 10th Symphony (Romane) !

Cavaillé-Coll organs had Mixtures, though. Fournitures, Cymbales, Cornets, Carillons,

Progressions harmoniques, Mutations ranks (Notre-Dame Paris, Septièmes included),

he built them all, and often took them over while rebuilding ancient organs.

 

2) The way Dupré used the Mixtures is an idiosyncratic, specifically french one; I seriously doubt

Bach registred that way. It goes back to the french organ of the 18th century, with its strictly codified

"Plein-jeu".

 

3)- Such a thing did not exist elsewhere at the same epoch. It is thrilling to hear Michel Chapuis,

on a belgian Baroque organ which pre-dates the french influence here, draw the Mixture, the Sesquialter,

and the Cornet, all togheter, and then end up with the Trompette added !

The same is of course true with the orggans in central Germany, with the notable exception of the

frenchified Silbermann organs (why do you think the neo-baroque opinion leaders knew only them among

the dozens of baroque organ builders in that area?)

 

So it might be interesting to gather here the deeds and sayings of Dupré in Britain about that matter, so that

we could grasp his influence upon the evolution of the organ-design there.

 

Pierre

 

On a related point, the famous AH/Col. Dixon organ at Whitehaven (1904), destroyed in 1971 by fire, boasted a four rank Harmonics on the great (17.19.21.22), but no reeds...

 

Does this mean that the swell reeds and/or solo tubas were expected to be added to the Great, or is this a possible example of an 'exposed' mixture? (And is this where G. Donald Harrison got the idea?)

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... I'm not sure that uncovered mixtures were quite as unusual as is sometimes maintained. Some writers, such as Reginald Whitworth, used to say that the 17.19.22 mixture 'led to the reeds', which infers that it was drawn at least before the chorus reeds (but maybe not before the Oboe), and Harry Bramma certainly used the Harmonics at Worcester without reed support.

 

However, since it was the norm to have the Swell coupled to the Great (I suppose this originated with Cavaille-Coll and was passed on by Father Willis), it would have been unusual for the Great mixture to come on until a fair amount of Swell, including the reeds, had been drawn.

 

This is interesting. On reading back-issues of The Organ I had suspected the same.

 

However, I am glad that I never witnessed first-hand Harry Bramma's use of the G.O. 'Harmonics' at Worcester. (I used to practise at Crediton many years ago.)

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I'm not sure that uncovered mixtures were quite as unusual as is sometimes maintained. Some writers, such as Reginald Whitworth, used to say that the 17.19.22 mixture 'led to the reeds', which infers that it was drawn at least before the chorus reeds (but maybe not before the Oboe), and Harry Bramma certainly used the Harmonics at Worcester without reed support.

I wonder whether you are drawing here on evidence from a slightly later period. In his book "Organ Stops and their Use" (1951) Reginald Whitworth makes it clear that he was aware of the "Baroque Revival" and he clearly approved of it. Clarity of registration is a theme of this book. His views were probably quite innovative at the time. So when he writes, "I have found that many mixtures can be used (as they should) to top the flue ensemble without reeds" he may have in mind the choruses of old Dutch/Danish/German instruments, especially as he continues, "On large organs at least two mixtures each on great and swell are desirable". By the 1960s (when Harry Bramma was at Worcester) the neo Baroque was in full swing and the use of mixtures without reeds was quite commonplace, sometimes even if the mixture was quite unsuitable for such a use - but all this was long after Dupré's early visits to Britain.

 

In the french romantic repertoire, there is no mention of any Mixture at all up to the Widor's 10th Symphony (Romane) !

Actually, earlier than Widor there is a prelude in Edouard Batiste's 50 pièces, op.24 & 25 that is marked to be played on the G.O. using "Tous les fonds et Plein jeu". Also, although it's not a published score, Franck's manuscripts containing his improvisation themes mention a Plein jeu registration more than once. It seems unlikely that the classical Plein jeu was entirely forgotten.

 

Interestingly (at least, I thought so), one of Batiste's sorties in the same set is marked at the beginning "Grand Choeur"; presumably this includes the G.O. reeds. On the fourth system a fugue begins with the note "ajoutez les Plein jeu au grand Orgue". Towards the end there is a Lento passage where the Plein jeu is removed and, lastly, a tempo primo where it is added again.

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On a related point, the famous AH/Col. Dixon organ at Whitehaven (1904), destroyed in 1971 by fire, boasted a four rank Harmonics on the great (17.19.21.22), but no reeds...

 

Does this mean that the swell reeds and/or solo tubas were expected to be added to the Great, or is this a possible example of an 'exposed' mixture? (And is this where G. Donald Harrison got the idea?)

 

 

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

 

 

I'm not sure that Dupre taught the UK anything, but that isn't the same as suggesting that he wasn't influential. So important were his compositions, so dazzling his technique and so extensive his recital tours, it would be foolish to assume that he had no lasting impact.However, there was, even in the mid-19th century, a certain musical North/South divide, and in the late 19th/early 20th centuries, in the north of England, the continuation of an older, more classical tradition of organ-playing which, even to-day, is not far removed from baroque performance practice. (I will have to expand on this when I've refreshed my memory and checked a few details....it's quite complicated). Dupre was pre-dated by Guilmant of course, as well as Widor , and as “the” academic authority, Guilmant knew his stuff and spent a lot of energy re-discovering “early music.” Not only would he be aware of early music, he must have been aware of the Cliquot tradition, just as Cavaille-Coll would have been. That would include complete chorus-work including mixture registers.

The interesting thing is that in the old recording of Dupre playing Bach, some seem to use unisons and reeds, and other use a much “thinner” chorus sound with plenty of upperwork.

 

 

 

Now I may be getting it all hideously wrong, but the "English" organ tradition is nothing if not diverse; perhaps even perverse.

 

"Cynics" suggestion (on another thread), that the Mixtures were probably not regarded as a part of the chorus, may well be quite wrong, but for any number of perfectly good reasons. The fact that some organists preferred a more orchestral combination of sounds, and eschewed proper chorus-work, was probably just evidence of their own musical shortcomings, but then, this was the age of dense sonority and the worship of all things Wagner and Beethoven.

The mention of Whitehaven is interesting, even though the organ perished in a fire, because there is another organ with a Lt.Col.George Dixon connection in Whitehaven, at St James’ Church, built by Norman & Beard with Dixon as consultant.

Close tones reeds are anathema to bright choruses, and of course, the typical Harrison “Harmonics” was a bridge between the close-toned reeds and the heavyweight flues, which were far from dull in tone, even in Arthur Harrison instruments. The fact that Norman & Beard agonised over the problem, tends to suggest that the reeds were expected to be a part of the whole, and could be added to the choruses.

 

I’m now 61, and so I can recall how the older generation of organists played an Arthur Harrison organ when I was a young lad.

 

The seamless build-up made full use of the couplers, and really, the big flue sound was achieved with the Great Diapasons and Swell to Mixture combined. The Harmonics added colour and a certain density, but not much else, and anything louder than that required the Trombas ; either after the Harmonics had been drawn or drawn simultaneously with the Harmonics. The Trombas would not normally be added to the unisons first; though I expect some organists probably did. On the other hand, the Trombas could be used alone; precisely why there was a stop labelled “Trombas on Choir” on many larger Harrison instruments.

 

At St James’ Whitehaven, the Great had no Mixture at all, but the Swell Mixture, (comprising of 12.19.22) does suggest that it was made to complete a chorus of 8.4. & 2ft, due to the fact that the 15th is missing from the Mixture line-up.

At St.James’,Whitehaven, the Trombas were part of a separate Bombarde division, but notably, all manuals could be coupled to the Great. In other words, the whole organ was conceived as a coupler organ, where “build-up” involved coupling departments together. This is quite a radical departure from the earlier philosophy of terraced dynamics common to many instruments of the 19th century, where most manual divisions were largely complete and self-contained, but at quite different dynamic levels. With organs such as those, of which there are still many examples, the couplers are much less significant, and the build-up usually quite unsubtle. (This was always a limitation with the organs of Schulze and Brindley when it came to accompaniment and, by association, the sort of romantic organ-music requiring seamless changes of dynamic).

 

With regard to the “reedless Great, there is a simple logic to this. Anyone who has regularly played a substantial “Father” Willis organ, as I have, will tell you that the Great reeds do nothing that the Swell reeds can’t do, being of very similar tonality. Although it may be nice to have independent reeds in certain circumstances, they do not contribute much to the overall sound of the full ensemble.

 

G Donald-Harrison was not a disciple of Willis at all; his earliest ambition being to work for Lewis, after hearing the superlative sound of Southwark Cathedral, with its glorious choruses. Indeed, the exact same inspiration had moved Lewis when he first heard the Schulze organ at Doncaster.

 

St.Bart.s, Armley, Leeds. (Schulze)

 

It’s not difficult to understand why G Donald Harrison was so moved, as the following demonstrates:-

T C Lewis organ

 

Unfortunately, according to the late Stephen Bicknell, Thomas Lewis virtually shunned the young G Donald Harrison, who had no alternative but to work for a rival company in the form of Willis, who would eventually join forces with Lewis, and then discard his tonal values.

 

After moving to America, G Donald Harrison developed what the world knows as the “American Classic,” but at the same time, he was acutely aware of the baroque tradition. He is known to have preferred a solitary and gentle Great 16ft baroque-style colouring reed; relying on the Swell to provide the necessary Trumpet sound-quality which could be coupled through to the Great. Whether he ever did this, I am not sure, but what he did do was to carry to America a tradition which can be traced from Silbermann, via Schulze to T C Lewis. Other influences prevailed, such as the very thorough scholarship of the English organist domiciled in America, E Power-Biggs, as well as others who sought a new understanding of the “classical” (ie:-baroque) organs of Europe.

 

Here is the magnificent sound of G Donald Harrison’s masterpiece, in an old recording prior to the Schoenstein re-build and the addition of new Great reeds.

 

 

It’s rather interesting that the organ-builders who followed the neo-baroque revolution, never got to grips with the leathered shallots and broad-sonority of Arp Schnitger's reeds, which were a distinct and quite separate chorus sound in their own rights, and totally incompatible with flue-choruses. They also make very attractive solo stops. I suspect that no 5 rank “Harmonics” would ever succeed in marrying Schnitger’s reeds to his Principal choruses. So in a way, the reedless Great is no different in principle to the reedless choruses of Schnitger.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0lYzvcyAFlU

 

The Trombas of Arthur Harrison (and others) added a totally different tonal-quality, as we know, but they actually can be blended-in”with the appropriate Harmonics”....really a type of Cornet.

 

 

MM

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On a related point, the famous AH/Col. Dixon organ at Whitehaven (1904), destroyed in 1971 by fire, boasted a four rank Harmonics on the great (17.19.21.22), but no reeds...

 

Does this mean that the swell reeds and/or solo tubas were expected to be added to the Great, or is this a possible example of an 'exposed' mixture? (And is this where G. Donald Harrison got the idea?)

To your first question - probably 'yes'. Notwithstanding Harry Bramma's use of a similar stop (recorded above), I think that such a sound would have an extremely limited popularlty.

 

With regard to G. Donald Harrison, I am not sure. It is true that, to infer from stoplists of organs he designed and built, he was fond of reedless (or, nearly reedless*) G.O. divisions; he seemed to prefer a small (usually 'floating') Bombarde section, with bold chorus reeds at two or three pitches, and a big mixture - often containing a tierce rank.

 

 

 

* The G.O. at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, NYC, has a solitary Fagott at 16ft, pitch.

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It may be true that, up to the "Romane", no French romantic score ever did mention "mixtures", "Pleins-Jeux" or anything like. However, I was under the impression that the word "Anches" could be read as referring both to reeds (proper meaning) and to the part of the soundboard that gets wind when the "Appel des Anches" piston is activated, and which usually carried, along with the chorus reeds, stops above 4', including Quinte, Doublette, Fourniture, Cymbale and/or Plein Jeu (and sometimes a more harmonically rich 4' as well).

 

So, "Anches" needs to be interpreted depending on the instrument at hands. If it is specified as "Anches 8", the case is clear. If the score says "Anches 16, 8, 4" or just "Anches" there is room for interpretation: May this include the higher chorus ranks as well? Do they suit the music, room, and instrument?

 

Even for Cavaillé-Coll at his most extreme -- perhaps the years around the Sainte-Clotilde organ --, there are very few instruments larger than an Orgue-de-choeur that do not include a full chorus. Saint-Roch did not have one on the Great, but there was one on the very complete Positif-de-dos (18 stops, including three chorus mixtures and a Celeste). These organs were built, loved, and recommended with their choruses. It would be a bit bold to infer -- as Pierre doesn't, but hints at --, from the scores of the French romantics, that the Pleins-Jeux were not used.

 

Best,

Friedrich

 

Absolutely. Cavaillé-Coll divided his soundboards (layes) into two parts: the Jeux de Fonds and Jeux de Combinaisons. Generally speaking, anything above 4ft. pitch* was placed on the latter soundboard. In addition, he would frequently provide the reed trebles with a higher wind pressure.

 

With this layout, it was assumed that the compound stops would be drawn with the reeds, so that, when the 'Anches G.O.' was depressed, all of these ranks would sound simultaneously.

 

 

 

 

* There are a few instances of larger 4ft. chorus registers being placed with the reeds and upperwork, in addition to a smaller Prestant with the fonds. Ste. Clothilde is one example of this.

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The mention of Whitehaven is interesting, even though the organ perished in a fire, because there is another organ with a Lt.Col.George Dixon connection in Whitehaven, at St James’ Church, built by Norman & Beard with Dixon as consultant.

Close tones reeds are anathema to bright choruses, and of course, the typical Harrison “Harmonics” was a bridge between the close-toned reeds and the heavyweight flues, which were far from dull in tone, even in Arthur Harrison instruments. The fact that Norman & Beard agonised over the problem, tends to suggest that the reeds were expected to be a part of the whole, and could be added to the choruses.

Did Norman & Beard agonise over this decision? I do not dispute this - I would simply be interested to know the source for this statement.

 

At St James’ Whitehaven, the Great had no Mixture at all, but the Swell Mixture, (comprising of 12.19.22) does suggest that it was made to complete a chorus of 8.4. & 2ft, due to the fact that the 15th is missing from the Mixture line-up.

 

I believe this to be incorrect. Dixon's original scheme provided for a Gemshorn 2ft, with a 12-19-22 Mixture. However, as built, the Swell Organ contained (and still does) a 4ft. Gemshorn, a 15-19-22 Mixture - but no separate 2ft. stop.

 

With regard to the “reedless Great, there is a simple logic to this. Anyone who has regularly played a substantial “Father” Willis organ, as I have, will tell you that the Great reeds do nothing that the Swell reeds can’t do, being of very similar tonality. Although it may be nice to have independent reeds in certain circumstances, they do not contribute much to the overall sound of the full ensemble.

 

 

MM

 

In the case of the 'Father' Willis organ at Truro Cathedral, this is simply not true. The Swell reeds are indeed superb - but so are the G.O. reeds. There is a subtle but perceptible difference in the tonality of these two families of reeds. In addition, the G.O. reeds contribute substantially to the powerful tutti of this instrument. In fact, these three ranks (together with the Pedal Ophicleide) are the dominant sound in the tutti - due in part to the somewhat retiring nature of the Solo Tuba, notwithstanding its subsequent re-siting at the last restoration.

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Did Norman & Beard agonise over this decision? I do not dispute this - I would simply be interested to know the source for this statement.

 

They did indeed, but I am struggling to recall the particular article about this, and where I saw it.

Our friend "cynic" has seen this also, but I don't know if he can recal what the article was and who wtote itl

 

 

I believe this to be incorrect. Dixon's original scheme provided for a Gemshorn 2ft, with a 12-19-22 Mixture. However, as built, the Swell Organ contained (and still does) a 4ft. Gemshorn, a 15-19-22 Mixture - but no separate 2ft. stop.

 

Ah! That's interesting. I had just gone by the original stop-list; not realising that this had been changed. However, it isn't important, becaue the original concept proves the point of a Mixture being a part of a chorus.

 

 

In the case of the 'Father' Willis organ at Truro Cathedral, this is simply not true. The Swell reeds are indeed superb - but so are the G.O. reeds. There is a subtle but perceptible difference in the tonality of these two families of reeds. In addition, the G.O. reeds contribute substantially to the powerful tutti of this instrument. In fact, these three ranks (together with the Pedal Ophicleide) are the dominant sound in the tutti - due in part to the somewhat retiring nature of the Solo Tuba, notwithstanding its subsequent re-siting at the last restoration.

 

Not having heard Truro, I wouldn't know. I do know Kilburn however, which is quite similar. I agree that there is a difference as the Great reeds are drawn, but the difference is not enormous, It.s just a bit more of the same thing

 

MM

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Not having heard Truro, I wouldn't know. I do know Kilburn however, which is quite similar. I agree that there is a difference as the Great reeds are drawn, but the difference is not enormous, It.s just a bit more of the same thing

 

MM

 

Although I do wonder whether H&H altered the voicing or balance of these ranks on this instrument. It should also be borne in mind that, whilst the chest and action is present for the 16ft. rank, the pipes are not (and never have been). The NPOR survey is interesting (if it is correct), since it gives a wind pressure not normally used by FHW for his G.O. chorus reeds in larger buildings. They were often voiced on 175mm w.g. The pressure at Kilburn is somewhat lower (around 137mm). This may well account for any aural difference (and the fact that there are only two ranks present). It is interesting to note that the ranks were originally named Contra Posaune, Bombarde and Clarion. Subesquently, H&H re-named them, using their standard Tromba appellation - without, however, revoicing them on a very high wind pressure..

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Although I do wonder whether H&H altered the voicing or balance of these ranks on this instrument. It should also be borne in mind that, whilst the chest and action is present for the 16ft. rank, the pipes are not (and never have been). The NPOR survey is interesting (if it is correct), since it gives a wind pressure not normally used by FHW for his G.O. chorus reeds in larger buildings. They were often voiced on 175mm w.g. The pressure at Kilburn is somewhat lower (around 137mm). This may well account for any aural difference (and the fact that there are only two ranks present). It is interesting to note that the ranks were originally named Contra Posaune, Bombarde and Clarion. Subesquently, H&H re-named them, using their standard Tromba appellation - without, however, revoicing them on a very high wind pressure..

 

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

 

I think Arthur Harrison DID revoice at Kilburn, but it was subsequently reversed at a later date....thank heavens!

 

The "good" thing is the fact that they ran out of money, and the potential damage was avoided; leaving the organ with four manuals; three of which worked.

 

However, the broad criticism of Willis was always a certain lack of variety, but of course, what was there was absolutely superb; assuming that you don't mind rther thin chorus work and very dominant reeds.

 

The criticism often levelled at Lewis was also a slight lack of subtle variety, as well as a slight hardness in the sound of the chorus-work.

 

It begs the interesting question, as to whether G Donald Harrison wasn't actually better than both Willis and Lewis as a tonal artist?

 

As they say on 'Top Gear'......"On that bombshell.....goodnight!"

 

MM

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I think Arthur Harrison DID revoice at Kilburn, but it was subsequently reversed at a later date....thank heavens!

 

The "good" thing is the fact that they ran out of money, and the potential damage was avoided; leaving the organ with four manuals; three of which worked.

 

Although it is a pity that the 32ft. flue was never provided. The Solo Organ would have been nice, as well. However, we should be thankful that this organ was not spoiled.

 

However, the broad criticism of Willis was always a certain lack of variety, but of course, what was there was absolutely superb; assuming that you don't mind rther thin chorus work and very dominant reeds.

 

The criticism often levelled at Lewis was also a slight lack of subtle variety, as well as a slight hardness in the sound of the chorus-work.

This is indeed true. Lincoln Cathedral is a good example of this - aside from the mild strings and quiet reeds, the G.O. and Swell schemes are almost identical, both on paper and aurally.

 

 

It begs the interesting question, as to whether G Donald Harrison wasn't actually better than both Willis and Lewis as a tonal artist?

 

As they say on 'Top Gear'......"On that bombshell.....goodnight!"

 

MM

 

G. Donald Harrison. Hmmm.

 

Some say that he was a fine tonal artist - and that his reedless G.O. schemes were far in advance of anything previously attempted.

 

All we know is - he is not called 'The Stig'.

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