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Manchester Cathedral Organ


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Does anyone here know any more about the proposed new organ for this cathedral, please? The details on the website are somewhat sparse - little mention is made of any plans regarding the existing pipework. The artist's impression of the (possible) new case looks quite hansome and impressive, although it is a little difficult to form a definitive opinion from the scale of the drawing supplied.

 

In addition, does anyone know what modifications Allan Wicks was able to secure from Norman Cocker's original specification for the re-installation and rebuilding (following major war damage) in 1952-57? I recall reading such phrases as "...even then, there was much with which he had little sympathy." I also recall reading in an old back-issue of The Organ that Norman Cocker stated [something to the effect of] "...there is a desperate need for some percussion devices - not as toys - but as genuine accessories for certain aspects of the repertoire." I think that I am right in saying that Norman Cocker had been a cinema organist; nevertheless, I am strugging to think of a single occasion (or piece of organ music appropriate to cathedral worship in the third quarter of the twentieh century) when such devices as xylophones, chimes, a celesta or even a bass drum would have been sorely missed.

 

If anyone has any further information on either of these points, I would be grateful to hear from you.

 

Incidentally, how many here are familiar with the H&H scheme of 1918 - or even that of 1934-40? Both are, to my mind, very interesting and worthy of further study* - particularly the later stoplist, with its well-thought-out accessories and divisional transfers (there was a Chancel G.O. and a Screen G.O.; in addition, the single clavier Father Smith organ was made playable from the G.O. of the main console}.

 

If anyone would like to see these stoplists, and does not have access to a copy, I would be happy to post them. There is, in addition, a fine monochrome photograph of the beautiful 1934 console (which emerged unscathed from the bombing raids which wrecked the Smith organ, together with the Swell, Solo and much of the Pedal of the main instrument).

 

 

 

* Neither scheme is a typical H&H stoplist. For example, whilst there are Tromba ranks at three pitches on the G.O., their wind pressure was a mere 175mm. (By comparison, these ranks were often voiced on a pressure of 300mm. King's, Cambridge has G.O. Trombe speaking on 450mm - although at least these are enclosed in the Solo expression box.)

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I am strugging to think of a single occasion (or piece of organ music appropriate to cathedral worship in the third quarter of the twentieh century) when such devices as xylophones, chimes, a celesta or even a bass drum would have been sorely missed.

Aston in F, Lyngham...

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Aston in F, Lyngham...

Rutter: O calp your hands.

 

Actually, as for an occasion, my present church, each Easter Sunday morning, would probably welcome a whole arsenal of percussion devices, and possibly 16,8,4 Vuvuzelas en chamade.

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Does anyone here know any more about the proposed new organ for this cathedral, please? The details on the website are somewhat sparse - little mention is made of any plans regarding the existing pipework. The artist's impression of the (possible) new case looks quite hansome and impressive, although it is a little difficult to form a definitive opinion from the scale of the drawing supplied.

 

In addition, does anyone know what modifications Allan Wicks was able to secure from Norman Cocker's original specification for the re-installation and rebuilding (following major war damage) in 1952-57? I recall reading such phrases as "...even then, there was much with which he had little sympathy." I also recall reading in an old back-issue of The Organ that Norman Cocker stated [something to the effect of] "...there is a desperate need for some percussion devices - not as toys - but as genuine accessories for certain aspects of the repertoire." I think that I am right in saying that Norman Cocker had been a cinema organist; nevertheless, I am strugging to think of a single occasion (or piece of organ music appropriate to cathedral worship in the third quarter of the twentieh century) when such devices as xylophones, chimes, a celesta or even a bass drum would have been sorely missed.

 

If anyone has any further information on either of these points, I would be grateful to hear from you.

 

Incidentally, how many here are familiar with the H&H scheme of 1918 - or even that of 1934-40? Both are, to my mind, very interesting and worthy of further study* - particularly the later stoplist, with its well-thought-out accessories and divisional transfers (there was a Chancel G.O. and a Screen G.O.; in addition, the single clavier Father Smith organ was made playable from the G.O. of the main console}.

 

If anyone would like to see these stoplists, and does not have access to a copy, I would be happy to post them. There is, in addition, a fine monochrome photograph of the beautiful 1934 console (which emerged unscathed from the bombing raids which wrecked the Smith organ, together with the Swell, Solo and much of the Pedal of the main instrument).

 

 

 

* Neither scheme is a typical H&H stoplist. For example, whilst there are Tromba ranks at three pitches on the G.O., their wind pressure was a mere 175mm. (By comparison, these ranks were often voiced on a pressure of 300mm. King's, Cambridge has G.O. Trombe speaking on 450mm - although at least these are enclosed in the Solo expression box.)

 

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

 

 

You don't have to send anything to anyone through the post, because all that may be required is available on the following tribute web-page to the late Julian Rhodes.

 

http://cdmnet.org/Julian/schemes/cocker1.htm

 

I assume that the tonal changes suggested by Alan Wicks included, due to the fact that the organ was not completed until 1957, after the death of Norman Cocker in 1953, and after the installation of the Harrison at the RFH. It was a time of rapid change and new tonal directions. In some ways, it reflects what Harrison's achieved at the Colston Hall, Bristol ie:- fairly conventional in many ways, but altogether brighter in tone.

 

I further assume that any variations between the Cocker specification and the 1957 stop-list, are those of Alan Wicks.

 

As regards percussion stops, Norman Cocker was indeed a theatre organist, in Altrincham I believe. He was one of the few to be quite "out" about it, whereas others hid the fact, such as Osborne Peasgood, who played at a cinema in Acton. The money was so good, it would have been a major incentive to any impoverished musician.

 

Of course, Bach takes on a whole new meaning with percussion stops: the trio sonatas especially, and when it comes to drum-stops, there is a fairly long tradition.

 

Quite where it all fits in to cathedral music I cannot imagine, other than transcription playing, about which Norman Cocker probably knew quite a lot. I quite like the idea of a Celesta for those "All Saint's/Halloween" moments, and the music from Harry Potter. I'm also sure that David Briggs would revel in some percussion stops for his transcription performances.

 

They have a number of organ in America with an impressive array of percussion stops, and used sparingly and with taste, they are delightful. I'm sure even a cathedral organist could find a use for them at Christmas.

 

MM

 

Isn't the following extract from the Julian Rhodes pages just delightful:-

 

To my youthful eyes the console looked enormous, but I shall never forget his complete mastery of it. So far as I recall, pistons were not much used, and stop changing was carried out either by hand, or an elbow would give a tap to one stop or another, and on more than one occasion I saw him, both hands (and elbows) being fully occupied, bang in a stop with his head!

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Quite where it all fits in to cathedral music I cannot imagine

The psalms?

 

... the heavens dropped at the presence of God.

 

I have watched, and am even as it were a sparrow : that sitteth alone upon the house-top.

 

Unto thee will I sing upon the harp, O thou Holy One of Israel.

 

Praise him upon the well-tuned cymbals : praise him upon the loud cymbals.

 

Loads of possibilities! :lol:

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Well a harp is called for in the Willian Introduction, Passacaglia & Fugue, and would certainly spice up Bairstow's Blessed City. Bath Abbey certainly makes ample use of its Glockenspiel :lol:

 

 

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

 

Oh dear!

 

This was a bit of a missed opportunity then.

 

 

MM

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Well a harp is called for in the Willian Introduction, Passacaglia & Fugue, and would certainly spice up Bairstow's Blessed City. Bath Abbey certainly makes ample use of its Glockenspiel :lol:

 

Odd - I have played at Bath for a service or two and apparently failed to notice it had a Glockenspiel. Is it controlled by drawstop, or some secret switch? To be honest, I would just never bother with such things, but I am a little surprised that I missed it on the stop jambs....

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

 

 

You don't have to send anything to anyone through the post, because all that may be required is available on the following tribute web-page to the late Julian Rhodes.

 

http://cdmnet.org/Julian/schemes/cocker1.htm

 

I assume that the tonal changes suggested by Alan Wicks included, due to the fact that the organ was not completed until 1957, after the death of Norman Cocker in 1953, and after the installation of the Harrison at the RFH. It was a time of rapid change and new tonal directions. In some ways, it reflects what Harrison's achieved at the Colston Hall, Bristol ie:- fairly conventional in many ways, but altogether brighter in tone.

 

I further assume that any variations between the Cocker specification and the 1957 stop-list, are those of Alan Wicks.

 

As regards percussion stops, Norman Cocker was indeed a theatre organist, in Altrincham I believe. He was one of the few to be quite "out" about it, whereas others hid the fact, such as Osborne Peasgood, who played at a cinema in Acton. The money was so good, it would have been a major incentive to any impoverished musician.

 

Of course, Bach takes on a whole new meaning with percussion stops: the trio sonatas especially, and when it comes to drum-stops, there is a fairly long tradition.

 

Quite where it all fits in to cathedral music I cannot imagine, other than transcription playing, about which Norman Cocker probably knew quite a lot. I quite like the idea of a Celesta for those "All Saint's/Halloween" moments, and the music from Harry Potter. I'm also sure that David Briggs would revel in some percussion stops for his transcription performances.

 

They have a number of organ in America with an impressive array of percussion stops, and used sparingly and with taste, they are delightful. I'm sure even a cathedral organist could find a use for them at Christmas.

 

MM

 

Isn't the following extract from the Julian Rhodes pages just delightful:-

 

To my youthful eyes the console looked enormous, but I shall never forget his complete mastery of it. So far as I recall, pistons were not much used, and stop changing was carried out either by hand, or an elbow would give a tap to one stop or another, and on more than one occasion I saw him, both hands (and elbows) being fully occupied, bang in a stop with his head!

Thank you, MM - this is most helpful. The 1948 specification leaflet was the crucial link in the chain, the existence of which I was unaware. It looks to be even stranger than what was actually built. My preference is for either the 1918 or the 1934-40 specifications. (I did quite like the look of the re-modelled Choir Organ, which had some similarities with that at King's, Cambridge.)

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Odd - I have played at Bath for a service or two and apparently failed to notice it had a Glockenspiel. Is it controlled by drawstop, or some secret switch? To be honest, I would just never bother with such things, but I am a little surprised that I missed it on the stop jambs....

Yep. Drawstop. Bottom right, nuzzling up to the Cymbelstern. Perfect and totally authentic for In Dir ist Freude. Marcus used it to good effect in Duruflé's Op 12 in last week's broadcast. Great fun.

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How, exactly? Left hand Harp makes fine entrance exactly as required at 6'54" :lol:

 

 

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

 

Oh!

 

I was probably stroking the cat at that point. It has a habit of purring in my ear when it's given it a good wash....silly animal.

 

I shall listen again sans cat.

 

MM

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Odd - I have played at Bath for a service or two and apparently failed to notice it had a Glockenspiel. Is it controlled by drawstop, or some secret switch? To be honest, I would just never bother with such things, but I am a little surprised that I missed it on the stop jambs....

 

Maybe you have not played there recently. It was added for the organ's 10th birthday and the NPOR says:

2008 Johannes Klais Orgelbau Bonn

Glockenspiel added, mounted out of sight at the top of the case, on electric

action with a compass from tenor C to top D, playable either on the Solo, or on

the Pedals via Solo to Pedal coupler, albeit an octave higher - i.e. 4' pitch

covering the whole pedal compass;

 

Used to good effect in the outgoing voluntary for the BBC evensnog broadcast recently.

PJW

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