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jonadkins

Let's have a riot part deux

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How about a thread for those buildings which are not cathedrals but Abbeys, Priories and Minsters, as well as major parish churches?

 

My votes would go to:

Bridlington Priory

Hexham & Bath Abbeys

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Romsey should occupy at least two of the top three spots. Whatever has changed mechanically, it remains a musical instrument of the absolute utmost musical beauty and tonal integrity.

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Romsey should occupy at least two of the top three spots. Whatever has changed mechanically, it remains a musical instrument of the absolute utmost musical beauty and tonal integrity.

 

Absolutely. This is a really beautiful instrument - with one slight reservation. I wish that the G.O. reeds had not been revoiced in the early 1970s. With regard to the mechanical side, I would be greatly tempted to re-instate the mechanical stop and combination action. We all used to manage without general pistons - it should still be possible to play most things with four or five composition pedals, without getting tied up in knots.

 

Whilst I am probably biased, I would suggest the organ of Wimborne Minster. Whilst this did have a major rebuild in the mid 1960s, the quality of the voicing is superb - every stop blends (with the exception of the Chamade - which was never intended to blend).

 

Yesterday I had to play for a colleague at a church which possesses a large three clavier instrument, originally by Willis, greatly enlarged and rebuilt by Harrisons and finally rebuilt (arguably not particularly well) by Rushworth & Dreaper, in the mid 1970s. After returning to my own instrument in the afternoon, to play for Choral Evensong, I was struck by the apparent lack of blend in the organ at the other church. The Swell has a big Open Diapason and an enormous Trumpet 8ft - which stands apart from its neighbours. The Swell five-rank Mixture was barely audible in the full Swell. At the Minster, all the reeds blend well, yet form an exciting and utterly musical ensemble. Again, on the G.O. at the other church, there is a huge Open Diapason I, a large Hohlflöte, and two still rather fat reeds (Posaunes). Whilst the four-rank Mixture is at least audible, the chorus does not hang together convincingly, even if one omits the large Open Diapason. The Choir Organ is Romantic Solo Organ in all but name and, whilst the individual stops are for the most part pleasant, it is only really useful in choral accompaniment. The Cor Anglais (16ft.) is too quiet - it is borrowed on the Pedal Organ, where its presence is virtually pointless, there being a quiet Dulciana already.

 

On the mechanical side, this instrument is, quite frankly, beginning to resemble just so much junk, these days. The action is rather slow and lacks crispness; the piston action is also sluggish. The consloe is nothing short of a disgrace, particularly compared to the elegance of the former H&H console. It was detached to facilitate better contact between the choir and organist, and to enable the player to gain a clearer idea of the balance between singers and organ. Why they could not simply have built a case for the old H&H console and given it a new action I cannot imagine.

 

I think probably what I am trying to say is that I regard the organ of Wimborne Minster as a superb, thoroughly musical instrument.

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The Compton at Downside Abbey is a mightily impressive beast, especially for its period.

 

The HN&B at Selby Abbey (but possibly the finest is the one at Holbrook School, whch may not count in this thread).

 

The Harrison at the Temple Church.

 

The Harrisons at Redcliffe and King's.

 

The Rushworth at Holy Rude, Stirling.

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How about a thread for those buildings which are not cathedrals but Abbeys, Priories and Minsters, as well as major parish churches?

 

My votes would go to:

Bridlington Priory

Hexham & Bath Abbeys

 

 

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

 

Oh dear! This is such a difficult category. How do we measure the worth of one against another?

 

There are so many reasons why an instrument is remarkable; rarity value, authenticity, tonal qualities etc etc.

 

The organ of Halifax PC is now almost unique, for apart from the new Walker quint mixture of the Great, it is almost exactly as Arthur Harrison left it, including the earlier Snetzler pipework.

 

The "Grove" organ of Tewksbury is probably the one which has the greatest tonal impact of any, and not only that, it is the "Magnum Opus" of a company which didn't survive very long, who worked in a unique style all their own.

 

Unfortunately, I don't know the organ at Romsey Abbey, so I cannot nominate it, but it certainly enjoys a fine reputation.

 

I like Hexham, which is the ONLY Phelps instrument, and the only modern American neo-classical organ in the UK, whatever the sources of the various bits and pieces may be. (I can't imagine that they were all shipped over in crates, but I may be wrong).

 

Bridlington and Bath I haven't heard in their latest re-creations, so I would have to pass on those.

 

I think my personal favourite would have to be Beverley Minster, which is just one of the most musical of instruments I know, containing historic pipework which hasn't been ruined and which carries the tonal authority of Thomas Hill. It is also has the most beautiful organ-case in a quite astonishingly beautiful setting.

 

It's that combination of things which clinches it for me.

 

MM

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The Compton at Downside Abbey is a mightily impressive beast, especially for its period.

 

The HN&B at Selby Abbey (but possibly the finest is the one at Holbrook School, whch may not count in this thread).

 

The Harrison at the Temple Church.

 

The Harrisons at Redcliffe and King's.

 

The Rushworth at Holy Rude, Stirling.

 

The Compton at Downside is, I believe, in rather less than rude health, these days.

 

I am not sure about the H&H instruments - particularly the chorus reeds. They would certainly have a great degree of tonal integrity - but at a price in musicality, in some cases. I have serious doubts about the usefulness of Trombe which speak on a pressure of 450mm w.g., even if they are enclosed in the Solo expression box.

 

I have an old recording of the large Rushworth at Stirling; it is certainly a grand instrument - in the Saint Andrew's, Plymouth sense, although somewhat older. I note that it has been altered to include a Positive Organ (as well as a Choir Organ). In addition, it has acquired one or two interesting accessories: a Pedal Tenor Solo 'coupler' - which is a form of Pedal divide, splitting the action of the Pedalboard, so that the lowest octave works on the Pedal stops, and everything above works on the Solo Organ at octave pitch. (I believe that the Willis organ at Saint George's Hall, Liverpool has a similar arrangement). Stirling has also gained (if that is the right word) a Burmese gong - God alone knows why anyone should wish for that on this instrument....

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Yesterday I had to play for a colleague at a church which possesses a large three clavier instrument, originally by Willis, greatly enlarged and rebuilt by Harrisons and finally rebuilt (arguably not particularly well) by Rushworth & Dreaper, in the mid 1970s. After returning to my own instrument in the afternoon, to play for Choral Evensong, I was struck by the apparent lack of blend in the organ at the other church. The Swell has a big Open Diapason and an enormous Trumpet 8ft - which stands apart from its neighbours. The Swell five-rank Mixture was barely audible in the full Swell. At the Minster, all the reeds blend well, yet form an exciting and utterly musical ensemble. Again, on the G.O. at the other church, there is a huge Open Diapason I, a large Hohlflöte, and two still rather fat reeds (Posaunes). Whilst the four-rank Mixture is at least audible, the chorus does not hang together convincingly, even if one omits the large Open Diapason. The Choir Organ is Romantic Solo Organ in all but name and, whilst the individual stops are for the most part pleasant, it is only really useful in choral accompaniment. The Cor Anglais (16ft.) is too quiet - it is borrowed on the Pedal Organ, where its presence is virtually pointless, there being a quiet Dulciana already.

 

On the mechanical side, this instrument is, quite frankly, beginning to resemble just so much junk, these days. The action is rather slow and lacks crispness; the piston action is also sluggish. The consloe is nothing short of a disgrace, particularly compared to the elegance of the former H&H console. It was detached to facilitate better contact between the choir and organist, and to enable the player to gain a clearer idea of the balance between singers and organ. Why they could not simply have built a case for the old H&H console and given it a new action I cannot imagine.

 

Totally agreed - I don't miss it one bit. Believe it or not, the manual actions were releathered less than five years ago by our mutual Cornish friend, and the Swell (particularly the mechanical link between the flue and reed chests) has never been the same since. The piston action is fed by a 35 year old rectifier which doesn't compensate for demand. Pull out one stop and press general cancel, and that one solenoid gets the full wallop of however many amps it is; pull out full organ and it can barely cope. I took a conscious decision not to repair anything to do with the console unless it catastrophically prevented the organ being used, in the hope that a case could be made for a replacement.

 

I hope you found the Pedal Bourdon unit much better - it was releathered and given new magnets earlier this year - when I arrived there in 2008 there were five notes not working at all and most of the top octave of the 8' were hanging on forever and a day. Oh, and the Choir stop action now works, too.

 

This state of decline is arguably inevitable when an instrument is made of components of such vastly differing life expectancies. The soundboards will go on forever; the leatherwork has nearly had it (the Choir reservoir only has two corners left); most of the magnets in the basement are rusting and seizing. Unfortunately prior to my arrival a make-do-and-mend approach was taken, in that a soundboard would be stripped down and the motors releathered - but the magnets were not changed at the same time, and as a consequence the same soundboard has to be revisited again five years later.

 

My approach was to go through soundboard by soundboard (and if you include pedal chests there are no fewer than 23) and fully overhaul each; magnets, leatherwork, concussions, joints, the lot. Painting the Forth bridge is a big enough job as it is, but if you only daub paint on the bits where the rust is showing through, you will be there for a thousand years and still won't keep on top of it.

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I haven't heard it for a long time, certainly not since they moved the Choir organ, but what about Armley?

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The Compton at Downside is, I believe, in rather less than rude health, these days.

 

I am not sure about the H&H instruments - particularly the chorus reeds. They would certainly have a great degree of tonal integrity - but at a price in musicality, in some cases. I have serious doubts about the usefulness of Trombe which speak on a pressure of 450mm w.g., even if they are enclosed in the Solo expression box.

 

I have an old recording of the large Rushworth at Stirling; it is certainly a grand instrument - in the Saint Andrew's, Plymouth sense, although somewhat older. I note that it has been altered to include a Positive Organ (as well as a Choir Organ). In addition, it has acquired one or two interesting accessories: a Pedal Tenor Solo 'coupler' - which is a form of Pedal divide, splitting the action of the Pedalboard, so that the lowest octave works on the Pedal stops, and everything above works on the Solo Organ at octave pitch. (I believe that the Willis organ at Saint George's Hall, Liverpool has a similar arrangement). Stirling has also gained (if that is the right word) a Burmese gong - God alone knows why anyone should wish for that on this instrument....

 

Roger Taylor, a local organ man, used to look after Downside very nicely. I don't know how things are these days, but some Comptons went for a very long time on their original components

 

I guess that, like all organs, you have to approach Arthur Harrisons for what they are, and not everyone is going to like what they find. I found them more flexible than some would have me believe, but it someties took a bit of time to work outhow to do things, because what worked on a Walker or a Father Willis might not work on an AH. The trombas need care - one can't throw them about like chorus trumpets, and some of them are simply tubas. It's a dangerous path when people start altering them - as another post here referring to St. Peter's Bournemouth reveals. Integrity should be respected, even if it's not too popular with everyone (I don't much like old Hills, with some notable exceptions).

 

Stirling - the Tenor Solo coupler was always there, as was the Gong. The builders were in the fortunate position of having a good site and no shortage of funds and when they had put in everything they wanted there was a bit of cash left over. The organist, Dr. Baird Ross decided he wanted a Burmese Temple Gong - Lord knows why! It sounds like a saucepan lid being hit with a ladle. I confess to having used it in a recital (in a piece by Scheidt). The alterations to the original, like the splitting off of certain Choir stops and calling them 'Positive' were, I think, unfortunate, although carried out with the best of intentions. There is a strong case for restoring its original integrity. Overall, it is an instrument of impressively high quality. I've heard more than one person say, 'Rushworth's could really do it when they wanted to', and the Stirling organ is ample proof. Another is St. James, Antrim Road, Belfast, a moderate-sized three-manual (in a redundant church), and I believe that Reid Memorial, Edinburgh is similarly fine.

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

 

Oh dear! This is such a difficult category. How do we measure the worth of one against another?

 

There are so many reasons why an instrument is remarkable; rarity value, authenticity, tonal qualities etc etc.

 

The organ of Halifax PC is now almost unique, for apart from the new Walker quint mixture of the Great, it is almost exactly as Arthur Harrison left it, including the earlier Snetzler pipework.

 

The "Grove" organ of Tewksbury is probably the one which has the greatest tonal impact of any, and not only that, it is the "Magnum Opus" of a company which didn't survive very long, who worked in a unique style all their own.

 

Unfortunately, I don't know the organ at Romsey Abbey, so I cannot nominate it, but it certainly enjoys a fine reputation.

 

I like Hexham, which is the ONLY Phelps instrument, and the only modern American neo-classical organ in the UK, whatever the sources of the various bits and pieces may be. (I can't imagine that they were all shipped over in crates, but I may be wrong).

 

Bridlington and Bath I haven't heard in their latest re-creations, so I would have to pass on those.

 

I think my personal favourite would have to be Beverley Minster, which is just one of the most musical of instruments I know, containing historic pipework which hasn't been ruined and which carries the tonal authority of Thomas Hill. It is also has the most beautiful organ-case in a quite astonishingly beautiful setting.

 

It's that combination of things which clinches it for me.

 

MM

 

 

SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO glad that someone remembered Beverley. To my ears, it's one of the finest organs in England.

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SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO glad that someone remembered Beverley. To my ears, it's one of the finest organs in England.

 

It does have a good reputation. I am not sure that I should want their Solo Organ, though. I noptice that it has also acquired some nasty square-headed pistons. These probably are supplied by K-A....

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It does have a good reputation. I am not sure that I should want their Solo Organ, though. I noptice that it has also acquired some nasty square-headed pistons. These probably are supplied by K-A....

 

What is everyone's objection to square thumb pistons all about? At least they tend not to do the turning upside down trick, and nor do they unscrew themselves and pop out whilst you're playing - the latter has happened to me during a service before now! I love the Norman and Beard sugar cube type, and with rounded corners they're also comfortable to use. I agree that sharp edges aren't nice. Much worse are the black square pistons with white engravings at Chester... the white numbers get filled with dirt and you can't see them anymore. When there's 14 divisionals to each manual you really need to know with certainty which is which. (yes 14 indeed... labelled 1 - 11 and ABC...)

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What is everyone's objection to square thumb pistons all about? At least they tend not to do the turning upside down trick, and nor do they unscrew themselves and pop out whilst you're playing - the latter has happened to me during a service before now! I love the Norman and Beard sugar cube type, and with rounded corners they're also comfortable to use. I agree that sharp edges aren't nice. Much worse are the black square pistons with white engravings at Chester... the white numbers get filled with dirt and you can't see them anymore. When there's 14 divisionals to each manual you really need to know with certainty which is which. (yes 14 indeed... labelled 1 - 11 and ABC...)

 

Try (accidentally) catching a corner of a square piston-head under a thumbnail - and then tryng not to swear, because in Gloucester, this will echo around the vault for about seven seconds....

 

However, I agree regarding Chester. It has also ruined the look of this formerly most elegant console, with its (unique?) reeded edges to the stop-heads.

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SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO glad that someone remembered Beverley. To my ears, it's one of the finest organs in England.

 

 

Beverley - my favourite setting of all and, in the middle of winter, one of the coldest places imaginable (try playing 'continuo' in Messiah in gloves!!! - I did, year after year!)

 

The organ case is perfect and in a perfect setting. The instrument inside is pretty good too!!

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Some ones we've not mentioned so far.

 

St John's Duncan Terrace - one of the best JWW 60's jobs

Ampleforth Abbey where Trombas and neo baroque work in the same instrument

St German's Cardiff, a lovely Hill/Willis mentioned in the recital thread by Peter Clark.

 

There are a few I wouldn't give house room to IMHO, although others might disagree.

 

Wymondham Abbey

St Mark's Swindon, ex Clifton Pro Cathedral if I recall correctly

Monmouth PC

2/3 rds of St Mary's Warwick

Crediton PC

 

are the ones that immediately come to mind.

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Beverley - my favourite setting of all and, in the middle of winter, one of the coldest places imaginable (try playing 'continuo' in Messiah in gloves!!! - I did, year after year!)

 

The organ case is perfect and in a perfect setting. The instrument inside is pretty good too!!

 

 

I wondered when this topic would move into the realms of parish church organs and I see that Beverley Minster has now entered the scene. Yes, a very fine instrument in a much coveted acoustic. But if I go back 50 years and more and bring the Holy Trinity, Hull, Compton into the equation I can remember a one-time Minster organist expressing the view after giving a recital at Hull that he “wished he had this organ in the Minster”. Alas, and I have written about it before on this forum, it has fallen into an awful state of disrepair, having not been touched since it was completed in 1938. But I first heard it played by Norman Strafford in 1948 when magnificent would have been an inadequate adjective by which to describe it.

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I've often thought about the concept of a restoration of a pre-war Compton, looking at it in terms of historic restoration and associated funding. What would you do with the stop/reverser action units ?

 

AJS

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I haven't heard it for a long time, certainly not since they moved the Choir organ, but what about Armley?

 

 

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

 

 

I don't know why I didn't think of nominating either Armley or Doncaster. Perhaps it's because they are instruments of world importance on a par with the very best instruments of Schnitger, Silbermann, Walcker etc.

 

However, you are quite right, because a century and a half ago, these two instruments changed the face of English organ-building for all time, and still inspire to-day's generation.

 

In a word, both are "stupendous."

 

But we have three choices don't we?

 

So Beverley, Doncaster & Armley....all sharing equal first place.

 

What about Leeds PC though, which has just got better and better over the years, and manages to sound utterly convincing in the most awful acoustic known to man?

 

The old "Odeon" cinema on the Headrow had more resonance.

 

It makes you proud to be a northerner.

 

MM

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I've often thought about the concept of a restoration of a pre-war Compton, looking at it in terms of historic restoration and associated funding. What would you do with the stop/reverser action units ?

 

AJS

 

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

 

 

Just clean them up....they're probably still working. :P

 

MM

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I've often thought about the concept of a restoration of a pre-war Compton, looking at it in terms of historic restoration and associated funding. What would you do with the stop/reverser action units ?

 

AJS

 

Nicholson's did a recent restoration of the Compton organ in St Peter's RC Church, Gloucester. I'm told this included rewinding the magnets.

PJW

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Some ones we've not mentioned so far.

 

St John's Duncan Terrace - one of the best JWW 60's jobs

Ampleforth Abbey where Trombas and neo baroque work in the same instrument

St German's Cardiff, a lovely Hill/Willis mentioned in the recital thread by Peter Clark.

 

There are a few I wouldn't give house room to IMHO, although others might disagree.

 

Wymondham Abbey

St Mark's Swindon, ex Clifton Pro Cathedral if I recall correctly

Monmouth PC

2/3 rds of St Mary's Warwick

Crediton PC

 

are the ones that immediately come to mind.

 

Wymondham Abbey - yes, I agree; a good instrument. But Saint Mary's, Warwick - and Crediton?

 

I have played Saint Mary's Warwick, but aside from the weird console (with wooden stop- and piston-heads, and multi-coloured engraving), I thought that the scheme was ill-conceived and did not work in practice. There are a number of omissions on the main organ, as against some arguably less useful ranks. In addition, I did not feel that it hung together tonally. It was also rather loud. My own preference is for a tutti which can be used when required - without plastering listeners against the west wall, with their hair looking as if they were testing a wind tunnel for British Aerospace.

 

Crediton - yes it does have reasonable tonal integrity (even allowing for the modest additions by Michael Farley*). However, what it also represents is the absolute standardisation of the Arthur Harrison tonal ideal for a large three-clavier organ. The Choir Organ is a Solo Organ in all but name - and is precious little use for anything else. Worse still, is the extreme (but entirely typical) contrast between the voicing and effect of the G.O. and Swell organs. The Swell has a fairly quiet diapason chorus, with the ubiquitous family of Lieblich Flutes, and is capped by a chorus of thin but comparatively fiery Trumpets. The G.O. is huge - with a Large Open Diapason (which was probably regarded as the foundation of the chorus, as opposed to a special effect), right up to two huge and opaque Trombe - replete with the fearful (and again standard) 'Harmonics' (17-19-flat 21-22). Whilst this stop does impart considerable brilliance (it often did not break until the 43rd note), it is of an extremely anti-social type. I do realise that it was designed to bridge the perceived aural gap between the Fifteenth and the (very) big reeds. To that, I would suggest that the design and voicing of both the mixture and the reeds were fundamentally flawed.

 

Having played Crediton on many occasions (I was allowed to practise on it as a teenager), and having also played it after the recent work was carried out, I have to say that my opinion of it has not changed. The full G.O. alone is devastatingly loud, with opaque, harmonically-dead Trombe quite literally obliterating the rest, save for the compound stop.

 

Everytihng else on this instrument, whist often being a good example of its kind - with several beautiful quiet stops, is very much an 'also-ran'.

 

 

 

* The NPOR entry is inaccurate in some details. The console is not new, it is a slight re-working of the 1921 console, with new foot piston-heads, two or three extra stop-heads and some re-planning of the layout of the stops on the characteristic H&H ebonised jamb panels. In addition, the Swell Mixture was never 17-19-22, but has been 12-19-22 for at least the last thirty years, if not since 1921.

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Wymondham Abbey - yes, I agree; a good instrument. But Saint Mary's, Warwick - and Crediton?

 

I have played Saint Mary's Warwick, but aside from the weird console (with wooden stop- and piston-heads, and multi-coloured engraving), I thought that the scheme was ill-conceived and did not work in practice. There are a number of omissions on the main organ, as against some arguably less useful ranks. In addition, I did not feel that it hung together tonally. It was also rather loud. My own preference is for a tutti which can be used when required - without plastering listeners against the west wall, with their hair looking as if they were testing a wind tunnel for British Aerospace.

 

Crediton - yes it does have reasonable tonal integrity (even allowing for the modest additions by Michael Farley*). However, what it also represents is the absolute standardisation of the Arthur Harrison tonal ideal for a large three-clavier organ. The Choir Organ is a Solo Organ in all but name - and is precious little use for anything else. Worse still, is the extreme (but entirely typical) contrast between the voicing and effect of the G.O. and Swell organs. The Swell has a fairly quiet diapason chorus, with the ubiquitous family of Lieblich Flutes, and is capped by a chorus of thin but comparatively fiery Trumpets. The G.O. is huge - with a Large Open Diapason (which was probably regarded as the foundation of the chorus, as opposed to a special effect), right up to two huge and opaque Trombe - replete with the fearful (and again standard) 'Harmonics' (17-19-flat 21-22). Whilst this stop does impart considerable brilliance (it often did not break until the 43rd note), it is of an extremely anti-social type. I do realise that it was designed to bridge the perceived aural gap between the Fifteenth and the (very) big reeds. To that, I would suggest that the design and voicing of both the mixture and the reeds were fundamentally flawed.

 

Having played Crediton on many occasions (I was allowed to practise on it as a teenager), and having also played it after the recent work was carried out, I have to say that my opinion of it has not changed. The full G.O. alone is devastatingly loud, with opaque, harmonically-dead Trombe quite literally obliterating the rest, save for the compound stop.

 

Everytihng else on this instrument, whist often being a good example of its kind - with several beautiful quiet stops, is very much an 'also-ran'.

 

 

 

* The NPOR entry is inaccurate in some details. The console is not new, it is a slight re-working of the 1921 console, with new foot piston-heads, two or three extra stop-heads and some re-planning of the layout of the stops on the characteristic H&H ebonised jamb panels. In addition, the Swell Mixture was never 17-19-22, but has been 12-19-22 for at least the last thirty years, if not since 1921.

 

I may have misread Porthead, but I took his post to mean that he did not care for the instruments mentioned.

 

Wymondham is one of the instruments that I've never got round to playing, despite being a native of that part of the country. It looks to be a very complete and effective instrument, but I have no idea what it sounds like. Appearances are so deceptive. The RCO organ at Kensington Gore looked an almost perfect scheme for its size, but in practice one couldn't take anything for granted, registration-wise and it took a lot of scheming to make a lot of music make sense (I played the Harwood Sonata for FRCO - as did Ralph Vaughan Williams about ninety years earlier. It was tricky to register, but it was possible).

 

Warwick looked too clever to be true and it does generally seem to be regarded as too loud.

 

Again, I don't know Crediton, but I have had a fair amount of experience with Arthur Harrisons. One is often told that one shouldn't try to make an organ do something it can't. I think it's more accurate to say that one should try and make it do things its own way, and then any good instrument will deliver more than might be expected. Those who know more about such things than I do (e.g. Harry Bramma) have suggested recently that the Harmonics is not merely, or principally, a step on the way to the Trombas, although it was probably not intended to come on until at least some of the Swell reeds were drawn. When one sees the sort of thing that Trost provided and of which Bach approved, one wonders if pure quint mixtures really are the only way. (Hill provided some filthy tierce mixtures, others did rather better). As for the Trombas themselves, one could argue that they were normally not intended to be added to a big principal ensemble, but formed the basis of an ensemble of their own. Colonel Dixon certainly thought that way. A lot of them are really tubas anyway and best used that way. The Redcliffe Trombas are certainly tuba-power for any other organ, but the ones at Belfast Cathedral were quite moderate and, despite being smooth as butter, went extremely well with the 1967 Positif - a very strange phenomenon! I would not call the Crediton Choir Organ a Solo Organ, although many three-manual Harrisons were treated that way. It's more like the Choir Organ on a four manual Harrison, i.e. a miniature Great, and very handy for choral accompaniment or colouring other departments.

 

I wondered to myself how wide we were casting the net for this thread - what counted as a 'Great Church' - otherwise Armley would certainly have come to mind. Leeds PC, too - it really has no right to sound as good as it does!

 

How about Great Yarmouth Priory? Ex-St. Mary-the-Boltons 3m Hill (Hmmm!) installed by Compton (Good!) with a Westminster Abbey lookalike case by Dykes Bower. Another on my wish list.....

 

Any takers for Buckfast? I've never heard it.

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How about St Mary's Nottingham? A modest two manual Marcussen that fills this vast church and effectively accompanies a wide choral programme.

 

My current Director of Music was Organ Scholar there a few years ago. He suggested that, in practice, it was somewhat less than ideal for the Duruflé Requiem, for example.

 

I think that I should have preferred its predecessor. I have played one or two instruments by marcussen and found them rather dull and colourless. Neither their instrument at the Bridgewater Hall nor that in Tonbridge School Chapel have attracted enthusiastic reviews.

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