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peter ellis

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

 

 

Karl, don't ever worry about giving an honest opinon on the board. I don't think we are so territorial as to be offended by an alternative, international viewpoint.

 

Now I've highlighted a few of your comments in red for further clarification.

 

There ARE diapasons which compare to Schulze, and if you dig back among my posts, you will find reference to the organs of Charles Brindley; some of which were voiced by Karl Schulze, who stayed on in England after arriving in the UK as an employee (and relative) of Edmund Schulze.

 

Well, yes - but an entire chorus, up to mixture? I would be interested to know where.

 

T C Lewis also copied the Schulze style very successfully, while other builders made various attempts at creating a copy-Schulze instrument. (Eg:- Forster & Andrews at All Soul's, Haley Hill. Halifax)

 

Why is the Willis II instrument.....yes....Willis II instrument......at Liverpool Cathedral, so successful in so enormous a space and acoustic? (It all pre-dated Willis III in design, concept and most of the execution).

 

Answer:- The organ has large-scale diapasons with Schulze-style 2/7th mouths.....a very different approach to narrow-scaled Geigens blown hard, as favoured by Fr Willis.

 

The Arthur Harrison/Dixon approach was different. They wanted Schulze power and achieved it, but only by using increased pressures and leathering the No.1 Diapasons. That produces a hard, unsinging type of tone, which for me, is the achilees heel of all the big Harrison jobs of the period.

 

Which is odd, because it is clear that Dixon, whilst disliking the keen thin-toned G.O. flue work which Willis sometimes provided, neither did he wish the unison pitch to predominate. In fact, he criticised the 1898 rebuild of the organ at Saint Paul's Cathedral for this particular point. Having said that, he did regard Willis' reeds as very fine - which leads me to wonder how ever he could have been happy with the things which Harrison provided. It is true that Dixon regarded the G.O. as essentially a flue chorus. He had no pleasure in the addition of chorus reeds of any type to this - particularly for Bach*. He further bemoaned the fact that when reeds are added to the flue chorus (as opposed to being used antiphonally in contrast), they are, of necessity doubling the notes played on the same clavier by the flue work.

 

It is also clear that he did not wish the G.O. 8ft. Diapasons to predominate - either the G.O. or in the full organ. Again, this seems at variance with some examples, in which the G.O. Large Open Diapason (often with leathered lips), the Harmonics and the Trombe are often the only things which can be heard in the full G.O.

 

One can conclude from this that he never intended the use of even the Swell reeds in Bach - just the G.O. chorus. At the same time, he did advocate the use of a secondary, contrasting chorus - and this before 1940, my originally suggested date.

 

Whilst this gives some insight into his tonal ideals, it also begs the question as to why it appears that in many Harrison organs, this advice was apparently not followed in more than spirit. Saint Nicholas, Whitehaven was the only Harrison organ of any size (as far as I am aware) with a reedless G.O. - and crucially, this lacked the Schultze-style compound stop. Instead it had the 'Harmonics' - but no reeds to 'bind' to the flue chorus. Yes, there were Tuba ranks at *ft. and 4ft pitch - but these were placed on the third clavier, and were almost certainly regarded by Dixon as a contrast to the G.O. chorus - not as the top. (It is also not unreasonable to assume that he would have allowed their use in the full organ for brief moments of climax.)

 

 

 

 

* He is known to have stated that all clavier reeds - however good - destroyed the clarity of contrapuntal texture, particularly in music in which the pace was to any degree brisk.

 

 

 

Whatever the precise details, the organ at Westminster Cathedral owes as much to T C Lewis as it does to Willis, and I don't know if Kerl knows this, but T C Lewis was virtually owned by John Courage (the mega-wealthy brewer), who donated the organ to the cathedral. So again, there are probably elements of Schulze, as at Liverpool. (I've never actually heard this organ, in spite of 20 years living in London). ...

 

MM

 

I have also not heard this instrument live - but would very much like to do so.

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Well, yes - but an entire chorus, up to mixture? I would be interested to know where.

 

 

Re: Brindley choruses up to Mixture etc

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

 

 

Well, when I were but a lad..........I used to go and help tune the 'beast' at Dewsbury Centenary Methodist Church, built by Brindley & Foster, which was a copy of Armley in many ways. Tragically.....and it was a tragedy....this organ was scrapped when the church was re-ordered. The following article gives some indication of the respect everyone had for this remarkable instrument.

 

http://www.hudds.org.uk/clarion3/page5.html

 

The Great Chorus was just outstanding, and Brindley didn't hold back on the voicing:-

 

 

 

Double Open Diapason 16

Large Open Diapason 8

Small Open Diapason 8

Hohl Flote 8

Principal 4

Harmonic Flute 4

Grave Mixture II 12.15

Great Cornet V 8.12.15.19.22/15.19.22.26.29

Sharp Mixture III 15.19.22

Double Trumpet 16

Trumpet 8

Clarion 4

 

This was Schulze by another name.

 

Fortunately, there are just a handful of B & F organs which survive from that golden period around 1860-80, but it is necessary to travel a bit, to say the least.

 

Just half a mile from me is the organ in Keighley Shared Church, which is one of the very last B & F organs from the period; re-built with only two small tonal changes by H,N & B in 1955, and subsequently worked upon by John Jackson. It's years since I've been inside this large church, and I don't know what state the organ is in, but it certainly produced a fine sound when I knew it.

Unfortunately, it is a bit buried (and divided) under a chancel arch, but it just about filled a large building.

 

Should you find yourself in Latvia:-

 

http://www.westbournegrovechurch.org/html/...1882_organ.html

 

Or in Tasmania:-

 

http://www.ohta.org.au/doc/js_launc/js_launc.html

 

http://www.ohta.org.au/organs/organs/Alber...Launceston.html

 

Or in a good library:-

 

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=bowkJFC...gan&f=false

 

As David Drinknell reminded us back in February, there is also a fine Brindley organ in Ireland.

 

I often go on about Issaac Abbott, who also claimed to be a follower of Schulze. With bold, (but not especially Schulzean), voicing in the choruses,and usually a Great IV rank quint mixture in his larger instruments, they are every bit as rare as B & F organs of the same period.

 

The important thing is, that these northern builders abandoned the traditional Cornet/Sesquialtera heritage of the "olde englysh" school, which both Hill and Willis had continued. Instead, they followed the Schulze style of unison and quints only, as did both

J J Binns and the Hull based company of Forster & Andrews, as well as small provincial builders such as Albert Keats.

 

However, the lineage really reaches full fruition with the mature work of Lewis, and by default, with the work of G Donald-Harrison in America.

 

Of course, with the excption of Lewis, almost all the "Schulze disciples" never saw fit to improve the quality of the reeds. Those of Schulze may be of thin tone, but they are at least quite good reeds; especially in the pedal organs. It is for this reason that the famous Doncaster Schulze, with its later Norman & Beard chorus reeds (Posaunes rather than Trombas), probably brought a great improvement to the overall sound of the instrument. Indeed, Lewis himself had criticised the poor quality of Schulze reeds previously, yet declared the organ at Doncaster to be the finest thing he had ever heard.

 

So this Schulze lineage is the third way in British organ-building of the 19th century, and IMHO, one which is far more in tune with both the classical lineage, (which reaches back to Silbermann) and the requirements of the mainstream repertoire.

 

It's when you pit an Arthur Harrison/Dixon creation, or the work of Willis III against the above,that you begin to realise how we missed our way by following the path of orchestral instruments, and then over reacting by going right back to Silbermann in what was a dubious undertaking in English churches.

 

MM

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Thank you for this, MM; it looks fascinating and I shall have a proper look through all the links after some food.

 

Incidentally, is the composition of the Great Cornet correct? I know that not all stops called 'Sesquialtera' contain a third-sounding rank - but this is the first occasion that I have seen a 'Cornet' without a tierce.

 

On paper it looks wonderful - a tragedy indeed that it was scrapped.

 

As you say - what a shame we followed the path of orchestral-type instruments, with its predictable over-reaction in the opposite direction. True, and perhaps against the odds, this has still left us with some superb instuments of one kind or another; but I cannot help but wonder what the organ situation would be like in this country today, if Hope-Jones (and possibly George Dixon) had suddenly developed an overwhelming desire to emigrate to Portugal, perhaps around 1890.

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Re: Brindley choruses up to Mixture etc

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

 

 

Well, when I were but a lad..........I used to go and help tune the 'beast' at Dewsbury Centenary Methodist Church, built by Brindley & Foster, which was a copy of Armley in many ways. Tragically.....and it was a tragedy....this organ was scrapped when the church was re-ordered. The following article gives some indication of the respect everyone had for this remarkable instrument.

 

http://www.hudds.org.uk/clarion3/page5.html

 

The Great Chorus was just outstanding, and Brindley didn't hold back on the voicing:-

 

 

 

Double Open Diapason 16

Large Open Diapason 8

Small Open Diapason 8

Hohl Flote 8

Principal 4

Harmonic Flute 4

Grave Mixture II 12.15

Great Cornet V 8.12.15.19.22/15.19.22.26.29

Sharp Mixture III 15.19.22

Double Trumpet 16

Trumpet 8

Clarion 4

 

This was Schulze by another name.

 

Fortunately, there are just a handful of B & F organs which survive from that golden period around 1860-80, but it is necessary to travel a bit, to say the least.

 

Just half a mile from me is the organ in Keighley Shared Church, which is one of the very last B & F organs from the period; re-built with only two small tonal changes by H,N & B in 1955, and subsequently worked upon by John Jackson. It's years since I've been inside this large church, and I don't know what state the organ is in, but it certainly produced a fine sound when I knew it.

Unfortunately, it is a bit buried (and divided) under a chancel arch, but it just about filled a large building.

 

Should you find yourself in Latvia:-

 

http://www.westbournegrovechurch.org/html/...1882_organ.html

 

Or in Tasmania:-

 

http://www.ohta.org.au/doc/js_launc/js_launc.html

 

http://www.ohta.org.au/organs/organs/Alber...Launceston.html

 

Or in a good library:-

 

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=bowkJFC...gan&f=false

 

As David Drinknell reminded us back in February, there is also a fine Brindley organ in Ireland.

 

I often go on about Issaac Abbott, who also claimed to be a follower of Schulze. With bold, (but not especially Schulzean), voicing in the choruses,and usually a Great IV rank quint mixture in his larger instruments, they are every bit as rare as B & F organs of the same period.

 

The important thing is, that these northern builders abandoned the traditional Cornet/Sesquialtera heritage of the "olde englysh" school, which both Hill and Willis had continued. Instead, they followed the Schulze style of unison and quints only, as did both

J J Binns and the Hull based company of Forster & Andrews, as well as small provincial builders such as Albert Keats.

 

However, the lineage really reaches full fruition with the mature work of Lewis, and by default, with the work of G Donald-Harrison in America.

 

Of course, with the excption of Lewis, almost all the "Schulze disciples" never saw fit to improve the quality of the reeds. Those of Schulze may be of thin tone, but they are at least quite good reeds; especially in the pedal organs. It is for this reason that the famous Doncaster Schulze, with its later Norman & Beard chorus reeds (Posaunes rather than Trombas), probably brought a great improvement to the overall sound of the instrument. Indeed, Lewis himself had criticised the poor quality of Schulze reeds previously, yet declared the organ at Doncaster to be the finest thing he had ever heard.

 

So this Schulze lineage is the third way in British organ-building of the 19th century, and IMHO, one which is far more in tune with both the classical lineage, (which reaches back to Silbermann) and the requirements of the mainstream repertoire.

 

It's when you pit an Arthur Harrison/Dixon creation, or the work of Willis III against the above,that you begin to realise how we missed our way by following the path of orchestral instruments, and then over reacting by going right back to Silbermann in what was a dubious undertaking in English churches.

 

MM

This is very thoughtful and very thought provoking. I admit that in my previous I rather skipped over T C Lewis. In America, we consider GDH to be his Temple High Priest. It's amusing to watch his (GDH's) evolution over here: at first keeping very closely to the HWIII style and then, in the early 30s breaking out and taking up the Lewis-type flue ensembles. However, his mixture scales were much larger, heroic even.

 

Have you heard the Mormon Tabernacle organ or the job he did with Larry Phelps at the Mother Church, Boston ? In these and in MANY others, G. Donald Harrison erected really massive flue ensembles of great beauty, strings and flutes never bettered, EMS orchestral reeds, so-called baroque, fractional-length reeds that stand in tune and finally, superbly controlled free-toned chorus reeds. At the time they were considered to be "French" reeds. In fact, they were something quite original.

 

Shouldn't we pay tribute to the Grove organ at some point ? Now there was a lost opportunity. It should have been copied and developed.

 

As for Liverpool being the work, in the main, of Henry II, Aubrey Thompson-Allen wrote something to that effect 20 or 30 years ago. There is no doubt however that as the pipes were brought out of storage and made ready for installation that there was quite a bit of re-voicing. Certainly, the Bombarde Grand Chorus Mixture is HWIII's. Are you sure that the larger fluework is 2/7 mouth ? There are, I believe, some double-languid diapasons based on Vincent Willis' work.

 

Touching on Armley, I grew up with a recording of the Stainer Crucifixion accompanied on that instrument, that hallmarked in many and various ways all of its major effects. It's an astoundingly beautiful organ. Why are there no recent recordings ? One would have expected many after its recent rebuild.

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Thank you for this, MM; it looks fascinating and I shall have a proper look through all the links after some food.

 

Incidentally, is the composition of the Great Cornet correct? I know that not all stops called 'Sesquialtera' contain a third-sounding rank - but this is the first occasion that I have seen a 'Cornet' without a tierce.

 

On paper it looks wonderful - a tragedy indeed that it was scrapped.

 

As you say - what a shame we followed the path of orchestral-type instruments, with its predictable over-reaction in the opposite direction. True, and perhaps against the odds, this has still left us with some superb instuments of one kind or another; but I cannot help but wonder what the organ situation would be like in this country today, if Hope-Jones (and possibly George Dixon) had suddenly developed an overwhelming desire to emigrate to Portugal, perhaps around 1890.

 

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

 

The Cornet, (misnamed of course) was a virtual copy of the Armley 5 rank Mixture; all the compound stops being quint and unison only.

 

The sound of the organ was nothing short of spectacular, but of course, very heavily terraced in the dynamics, which I regard as a bit of a problem with these earlier romantic German instruments. (The same thing makes Reger difficult at Armley, but Reubke absolutely perfect.....horses for courses I suppose). You're actually no nearer to "balanced choruses" than was Arthur Harrison.

 

I never knock Robert Hope-Jones, because he was something of a perfectionist and genius. His action designs were absolutely spot-on, and of course, he was incredibly inventive. (Mark Twain was very interested in his work and a financial backer to Hope-Jones, and I recall a marvellous afternoon visiting the former family home in Hartford, Connecticut, where there are ancient telephones all over the place.....using the Bell patents, I think).

 

The orchestral organ concept was not new, even in 1880, for it was at the heart of the Fair (Band) Organs of the bioscope years, (which included the Wurlitzer band organs), so even if the two of them (Hope-Jones/Lt Col Dixon) had set up home together in Portugal, (what a sensation that would have been), I suspect that the orchestral organ and the theatre organ would have happened anyway, once the technology was understood.

 

Also, experimental ideas and tonal developments were freely flowing from one side of the Atlantic to the other and back again.

We gave them chamades and diaphones, they sent us the Sylvestrina, the Wurlitzer brass "Post Horn" and the Steinway piano.

 

Winners and losers all.

 

MM

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I never knock Robert Hope-Jones, because he was something of a perfectionist and genius. His action designs were absolutely spot-on, and of course, he was incredibly inventive.

 

With regard to the mechanical side - perhaps. Tonally, he was a disaster.

 

... so even if the two of them (Hope-Jones/Lt Col Dixon) had set up home together in Portugal, (what a sensation that would have been) ...

Ah - this was not quite what I meant.

 

 

Also, experimental ideas and tonal developments were freely flowing from one side of the Atlantic to the other and back again.

We gave them chamades and diaphones, they sent us the Sylvestrina, the Wurlitzer brass "Post Horn" and the Steinway piano.

 

Winners and losers all.

 

MM

Regarding the Sylvestrina - I have heard that Willis III copied his from Skinner's Erzähler, but I had thought that the stop actually originated in Germany, over one hundred years ago.

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This is very thoughtful and very thought provoking. I admit that in my previous I rather skipped over T C Lewis. In America, we consider GDH to be his Temple High Priest. It's amusing to watch his (GDH's) evolution over here: at first keeping very closely to the HWIII style and then, in the early 30s breaking out and taking up the Lewis-type flue ensembles. However, his mixture scales were much larger, heroic even.

 

Have you heard the Mormon Tabernacle organ or the job he did with Larry Phelps at the Mother Church, Boston ? In these and in MANY others, G. Donald Harrison erected really massive flue ensembles of great beauty, strings and flutes never bettered, EMS orchestral reeds, so-called baroque, fractional-length reeds that stand in tune and finally, superbly controlled free-toned chorus reeds. At the time they were considered to be "French" reeds. In fact, they were something quite original.

 

Shouldn't we pay tribute to the Grove organ at some point ? Now there was a lost opportunity. It should have been copied and developed.

 

As for Liverpool being the work, in the main, of Henry II, Aubrey Thompson-Allen wrote something to that effect 20 or 30 years ago. There is no doubt however that as the pipes were brought out of storage and made ready for installation that there was quite a bit of re-voicing. Certainly, the Bombarde Grand Chorus Mixture is HWIII's. Are you sure that the larger fluework is 2/7 mouth ? There are, I believe, some double-languid diapasons based on Vincent Willis' work.

 

Touching on Armley, I grew up with a recording of the Stainer Crucifixion accompanied on that instrument, that hallmarked in many and various ways all of its major effects. It's an astoundingly beautiful organ. Why are there no recent recordings ? One would have expected many after its recent rebuild.

 

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

 

 

 

Being absolutely frank, I have no idea what scales G D-H used, but if he followed Lewis to the letter, they would be generous, a little smaller than Schulze but fairly unrestrained. I would have to check my files, but I "think" Lewis followed the Schulze straight-line scaling, which may account for the big scales of the G D-H mixtures. (The famous....nay infamous....V rank Mixture at Armley is a couple of notes smaller than the unisons, but of course, it is mounted at the front of the windchest; hence the extraordinary impact.

 

What I do know, is that the best of D Donald-Harrison's work is just magnificent, and the very mention of the Mother Church, Boston caused a mist before my eyes, because I had the enormous privilege of playing this organ for some time when I was resident in Boston for awhile. It is absolutely glorious, almost in spite of the acoustic, but the strings are so very special. It is also about 30% larger than the organ of Liverpool Cathdral!

 

To demonstrate what we're discussing, the following two You Tube videos make the point, but no recording can do this organ true justice:-

 

Mother church Callahan "Aria"

 

 

 

 

Mother Church - Samuel Barber "Adagio"

 

 

I also had the great privilege of playing and/or hearing the organs of Trinity, Boston; the Church of the Advent, Boston; the Busch Hall Flentrop (beautiful to play) and the organ they're currently ripping out at the Harvard University Memorial Church, (Opus 46? Fisk) and replacing with a new Fisk organ. (How dare they?)

 

A few more sample videos here:-

 

 

 

http://www.trinitychurchboston.org/our-recordings.html Trinity Boston – listen to "with heart & voice" Parry "I was glad"

 

Harvard Busch Hall Flentrop - Bach - Fred Hohmann (What elegant playing!)

 

 

I have to say, the organ which just blew me away was the Methuen organ by Walcker/G Donald Harrison. I don't think I could have looked more astounded if someone had shot me straight between the eyes!

 

methuen

 

I'm being self-indulgent, am I not?

 

However, I received some extraordinary generosity in Boston, and met some truly wonderful and intelligent people.

 

About the 2/7th mouths, you've got me doubting myself. I was basing my belief on what, on reflection, is probably an assumption.

 

What I do know, is that Willis III (or was it Willis II?), had approached the Rev.Noel Bonavia-Hunt about the use of big-scales and 2/7th mouths as per Schulze, but whether this was the approach taken, I cannot be sure. Certainly, there are examples of double-languid pipes and increased chorus wind-pressures at Liverpool. (For the uninitiated, a double languid pipe has a hole or slot cut into the back wall of the pipe, and the vortex created by the first languid accelerates the air-flow onto the top-lip, in much the same way that a car carburettor atomises fuel, because at the vortex point, wind speed can approach the speed of sound!

 

Perhaps someone knows what actually transpired at Liverpool, but whatever it was, it certainly did the trick.

 

Finally, Karl asks about recordings of Armley.

 

Well I'm pleased to inform him that Graham Barber has made a CD at Armley, which is available from the Organ Historical Society in America (OHS Catalogue), and from which the video I posted of the Garth Edmondson "Von himmel hoch" was taken. (The photo on that video was not the church at Armley by the way, but the organ is).

 

There is also a certain organist with the initials P and D, who has made a new recording of the Schulze organ at Doncaster PC. That too is available through the OHS catalogue, so you've got absolutely no excuse for not getting them.....both brilliant organists playing brilliant instruments.

 

MM

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With regard to the mechanical side - perhaps. Tonally, he was a disaster.

 

Not entirely. The voicing of the individual ranks was quite beautiful, but it's difficult to find a chorus, I admit.

 

 

 

Ah - this was not quite what I meant.

 

I've heard about these military men and the King's Shilling. <_<

 

Regarding the Sylvestrina - I have heard that Willis III copied his from Skinner's Erzähler, but I had thought that the stop actually originated in Germany, over one hundred years ago.

Probably! I've played one, but I never heard it.....there was an electric milk-float going past outside.

 

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

 

 

 

Being absolutely frank, I have no idea what scales G D-H used, but if he followed Lewis to the letter, they would be generous, a little smaller than Schulze but fairly unrestrained. I would have to check my files, but I "think" Lewis followed the Schulze straight-line scaling, which may account for the big scales of the G D-H mixtures. (The famous....nay infamous....V rank Mixture at Armley is a couple of notes smaller than the unisons, but of course, it is mounted at the front of the windchest; hence the extraordinary impact.

 

What I do know, is that the best of D Donald-Harrison's work is just magnificent, and the very mention of the Mother Church, Boston caused a mist before my eyes, because I had the enormous privilege of playing this organ for some time when I was resident in Boston for awhile. It is absolutely glorious, almost in spite of the acoustic, but the strings are so very special. It is also about 30% larger than the organ of Liverpool Cathdral!

 

To demonstrate what we're discussing, the following two You Tube videos make the point, but no recording can do this organ true justice:-

 

Mother church Callahan "Aria"

 

 

 

 

Mother Church - Samuel Barber "Adagio"

 

 

I also had the great privilege of playing and/or hearing the organs of Trinity, Boston; the Church of the Advent, Boston; the Busch Hall Flentrop (beautiful to play) and the organ they're currently ripping out at the Harvard University Memorial Church, (Opus 46? Fisk) and replacing with a new Fisk organ. (How dare they?)

 

A few more sample videos here:-

 

 

 

http://www.trinitychurchboston.org/our-recordings.html Trinity Boston – listen to "with heart & voice" Parry "I was glad"

 

Harvard Busch Hall Flentrop - Bach - Fred Hohmann (What elegant playing!)

 

 

I have to say, the organ which just blew me away was the Methuen organ by Walcker/G Donald Harrison. I don't think I could have looked more astounded if someone had shot me straight between the eyes!

 

methuen

 

I'm being self-indulgent, am I not?

 

However, I received some extraordinary generosity in Boston, and met some truly wonderful and intelligent people.

 

About the 2/7th mouths, you've got me doubting myself. I was basing my belief on what, on reflection, is probably an assumption.

 

What I do know, is that Willis III (or was it Willis II?), had approached the Rev.Noel Bonavia-Hunt about the use of big-scales and 2/7th mouths as per Schulze, but whether this was the approach taken, I cannot be sure. Certainly, there are examples of double-languid pipes and increased chorus wind-pressures at Liverpool. (For the uninitiated, a double languid pipe has a hole or slot cut into the back wall of the pipe, and the vortex created by the first languid accelerates the air-flow onto the top-lip, in much the same way that a car carburettor atomises fuel, because at the vortex point, wind speed can approach the speed of sound!

 

Perhaps someone knows what actually transpired at Liverpool, but whatever it was, it certainly did the trick.

 

Finally, Karl asks about recordings of Armley.

 

Well I'm pleased to inform him that Graham Barber has made a CD at Armley, which is available from the Organ Historical Society in America (OHS Catalogue), and from which the video I posted of the Garth Edmondson "Von himmel hoch" was taken. (The photo on that video was not the church at Armley by the way, but the organ is).

 

There is also a certain organist with the initials P and D, who has made a new recording of the Schulze organ at Doncaster PC. That too is available through the OHS catalogue, so you've got absolutely no excuse for not getting them.....both brilliant organists playing brilliant instruments.

 

MM

Lovely reply but I think you'll agree that scaling is rather important. One must not be too dismissive on that score. As for following ANYONE to the letter, GDH RARELY did. It's a pity that he is not appreciated today as the giant of organ building that he was; a giant builder, dreamer and artist.

Your reaction to the Methuen organ is appropriate in every way. Of course, it's a one-off with slide chests.

The Garth Edmundson Toccata was recorded BEFORE the organ was restored. Glad PD has now recorded there and will surely get his new disc.

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This got me thinking. We have a B & F here in Cheltenham,

 

http://npor.rcm.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?...ec_index=N07458

 

I'll see if I can get in to see it sometime soon. (Also should be getting into the Town Hall in the next few days,

 

http://npor.rcm.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?...ec_index=N07449

 

'rubbished' by quite a few but i am beginnig to think otherwise).

 

F-W

 

 

 

 

Re: Brindley choruses up to Mixture etc

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

 

 

Well, when I were but a lad..........I used to go and help tune the 'beast' at Dewsbury Centenary Methodist Church, built by Brindley & Foster, which was a copy of Armley in many ways. Tragically.....and it was a tragedy....this organ was scrapped when the church was re-ordered. The following article gives some indication of the respect everyone had for this remarkable instrument.

 

http://www.hudds.org.uk/clarion3/page5.html

 

The Great Chorus was just outstanding, and Brindley didn't hold back on the voicing:-

 

 

 

Double Open Diapason 16

Large Open Diapason 8

Small Open Diapason 8

Hohl Flote 8

Principal 4

Harmonic Flute 4

Grave Mixture II 12.15

Great Cornet V 8.12.15.19.22/15.19.22.26.29

Sharp Mixture III 15.19.22

Double Trumpet 16

Trumpet 8

Clarion 4

 

This was Schulze by another name.

 

Fortunately, there are just a handful of B & F organs which survive from that golden period around 1860-80, but it is necessary to travel a bit, to say the least.

 

Just half a mile from me is the organ in Keighley Shared Church, which is one of the very last B & F organs from the period; re-built with only two small tonal changes by H,N & B in 1955, and subsequently worked upon by John Jackson. It's years since I've been inside this large church, and I don't know what state the organ is in, but it certainly produced a fine sound when I knew it.

Unfortunately, it is a bit buried (and divided) under a chancel arch, but it just about filled a large building.

 

Should you find yourself in Latvia:-

 

http://www.westbournegrovechurch.org/html/...1882_organ.html

 

Or in Tasmania:-

 

http://www.ohta.org.au/doc/js_launc/js_launc.html

 

http://www.ohta.org.au/organs/organs/Alber...Launceston.html

 

Or in a good library:-

 

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=bowkJFC...gan&f=false

 

As David Drinknell reminded us back in February, there is also a fine Brindley organ in Ireland.

 

I often go on about Issaac Abbott, who also claimed to be a follower of Schulze. With bold, (but not especially Schulzean), voicing in the choruses,and usually a Great IV rank quint mixture in his larger instruments, they are every bit as rare as B & F organs of the same period.

 

The important thing is, that these northern builders abandoned the traditional Cornet/Sesquialtera heritage of the "olde englysh" school, which both Hill and Willis had continued. Instead, they followed the Schulze style of unison and quints only, as did both

J J Binns and the Hull based company of Forster & Andrews, as well as small provincial builders such as Albert Keats.

 

However, the lineage really reaches full fruition with the mature work of Lewis, and by default, with the work of G Donald-Harrison in America.

 

Of course, with the excption of Lewis, almost all the "Schulze disciples" never saw fit to improve the quality of the reeds. Those of Schulze may be of thin tone, but they are at least quite good reeds; especially in the pedal organs. It is for this reason that the famous Doncaster Schulze, with its later Norman & Beard chorus reeds (Posaunes rather than Trombas), probably brought a great improvement to the overall sound of the instrument. Indeed, Lewis himself had criticised the poor quality of Schulze reeds previously, yet declared the organ at Doncaster to be the finest thing he had ever heard.

 

So this Schulze lineage is the third way in British organ-building of the 19th century, and IMHO, one which is far more in tune with both the classical lineage, (which reaches back to Silbermann) and the requirements of the mainstream repertoire.

 

It's when you pit an Arthur Harrison/Dixon creation, or the work of Willis III against the above,that you begin to realise how we missed our way by following the path of orchestral instruments, and then over reacting by going right back to Silbermann in what was a dubious undertaking in English churches.

 

MM

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This got me thinking. We have a B & F here in Cheltenham,

 

http://npor.rcm.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?...ec_index=N07458

 

I'll see if I can get in to see it sometime soon. (Also should be getting into the Town Hall in the next few days,

 

http://npor.rcm.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?...ec_index=N07449

 

'rubbished' by quite a few but i am beginnig to think otherwise).

 

F-W

 

 

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

 

 

The original 1882 stop-list is interesting, for it appears to anticipate what B & F did after the turn of the century. That's a bit earlier than I would have suspected.

 

The problem for me, it would seem, is that the organ was re-built by R & D, and that could have been disastrous to the original B & F sound.

 

Still, it's probably worth a look and a listen, if only to confirm my worst suspicions

 

Thanks for the information.

 

MM

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This is an interesting question. Clearly it depends on what one looks for in an instrument.

 

It is not easy to give things in order of preference - so much is inter-dependent on other factors. However, amongst those features which I regard as contributing to a negative view of an instrument are:

 

Bad overall blend - a lack of cohesion in the ensemble.

 

Unsteady winding.

 

An uncomfortable or badly laid-out console. (Or even an inelegant console.)

 

Badly thought-out couplers. (Or a lack of useful couplers.)

 

A dearth of pleasing and useful unison-pitch stops, both for solo and ensemble use.

 

Tierce mixtures. (Well, this is after all a personal viewpoint.)

 

Quint mixtures which resemble the sounds made by depositing wine bottles in an empty recycling skip.

 

Orchestral reeds which disappear into oblivion on reaching C13 (from higher up the compass, naturally).

 

Strings which sound as if they were constructed from left-over micro-plumbing equipment.

 

Untidy consoles. (If one is a guest, it is not always appropriate to spend five minutes with a black bin-bag and some vigorous hand-action.)

 

Bristling * elderly female clergy, who wish to preside at a previously un-advertised Mass the moment one switches the organ on.

 

Pedal pipes whose scale would make a Harrison Open Wood look positively svelte.

 

Bad or uneven actions - of any type.

 

Pistons which think for themselves - and have a low boredom threshold.

G.O. 8ft. flutes which are either fat or wooly. (One example of my acquaintance went on to perform the somewhat more useful task of keeping our organ builder and his family warm over the Christmas break.)

 

So-called 'floating' reeds - or, worse still, entire divisions. There is nothing worse than either accidentally transferring everything off the lowest clavier, or leaving a loud solo reed drawn on one jamb - but apparently playable from the clavier on which one is about to give the chord for an a cappella choir motet....

 

An acoustic ambience which would make the RFH sound warm and fluffy.

 

 

 

* In both senses.

 

 

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

 

 

I missed that first time around......excellent! <_<

 

 

MM

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I do wonder what FHW was thinking when he voiced the Pedal Ophicleide for Truro Cathedral. I have played this organ on several occasions, for both recital and service work, and it is somewhat frustrating to have to reserve the only Pedal reed (on a seven-stop department) for use with the full organ; anything less and it is overwhelmed by this leviathan. The 32ft. Double Open Diapason (wood) is also disappointing. Some notes (low A, for example) are very lound and foundational, whilst others are virtually inaudible - and not just at the console.

 

 

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

 

 

I had to smile when I came across a snippet about HWII or III, when they were voicing the big chorus reeds for Liverpool Cathedral; the 50" Tuba not then finished.

 

Apparently, a local school sent a letter of complaint to the organ-works about the noise levels.

 

The Willis reply is priceless, and contains the line:-

 

...........and regrettably, it is going to get much worse. <_<:lol:

 

MM

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

 

 

I had to smile when I came across a snippet about HWII or III, when they were voicing the big chorus reeds for Liverpool Cathedral; the 50" Tuba not then finished.

 

Apparently, a local school sent a letter of complaint to the organ-works about the noise levels.

 

The Willis reply is priceless, and contains the line:-

 

...........and regrettably, it is going to get much worse. <_<:lol:

 

MM

 

There was a story that Willis rented a disused school near the Cathedral as a voicing shop. One day, when they had the big Tuba on the voicing machine, something went wrong and all 61 notes ciphered at the same time. They must have thought something big was coming up the Mersey....

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Nick, your article mentions correspondance concerning the original piston settings for the 1929 instrument, which are of interest to me. Do these particulars still exist in the archive, and did you happen to make a note of them?

 

Didn't see anything. I know Dr Pearson wanted more pistons (and more couplers) but didn't get them.

 

There may be more archive material than I saw: all I had access to was the correspondence files stored at Harrison's. Mrs Venning told me a lot of other material had been deposited in the Durham County Archives.

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