Jump to content
Mander Organs

Least Musical Stop


Vox Humana

Recommended Posts

If we're now citing individual ranks, the Fanfare Trumpet (or whatever its called) added to the organ in Cirencester Parish Church around 25 years ago is pretty foul and unmusical. Its louder than the rest of this rather disappointing instrument put together.

 

Perhaps this will be sorted out in the forthcoming H&H rebuild.

 

Also, thinking back to Paul's earlier comments, the Cremona on the choir organ of Gloucester cathedral is certainly not to my taste...

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 134
  • Created
  • Last Reply
If we're now citing individual ranks, the Fanfare Trumpet (or whatever its called) added to the organ in Cirencester Parish Church around 25 years ago is pretty foul and unmusical. Its louder than the rest of this rather disappointing instrument put together.

 

Perhaps this will be sorted out in the forthcoming H&H rebuild.

 

Also, thinking back to Paul's earlier comments, the Cremona on the choir organ of Gloucester cathedral is certainly not to my taste...

 

 

Oh - I quite liked the Cirencester Fanfare Trumpet!

 

Mind you, I also thought that, taken as a whole, this instrument was somewhat disappointing.

 

I am pleased to hear thet H&H will be rebuilding it - any details available yet?

 

On the subject of Gloucester - you no doubt know that I disagree with you regarding this organ. However, I think that it is a question of what one expects. If you are looking for a sweet, romantic clarinet that will be useful in Psalms and Whitlock then, no, this is not the stop for you. If, however, one wishes to play de Grigny, Marchand, Couperin or the like, then it is a superb example of the genre.

Link to post
Share on other sites

This gets us into the realm of what we expect a cathedral organ to do. Is its primary job to accompany choirs/services, or is it to play solo repertoire? I guess most of us would agree that it needs to be able to do both and its then a question of where you draw the line of compromise. Personally I think a Clarinet (or Corno di Bassetto if you must) and an Orchestral Oboe are essential voices in a cathedral organ, but I wouldn't expect everyone to agree. As you've probably guessed, I'm not entirely sold on the Gloucester instrument.

Link to post
Share on other sites
This gets us into the realm of what we expect a cathedral organ to do. Is its primary job to accompany choirs/services, or is it to play solo repertoire? I guess most of us would agree that it needs to be able to do both and its then a question of where you draw the line of compromise. Personally I think a Clarinet (or Corno di Bassetto if you must) and an Orchestral Oboe are essential voices in a cathedral organ, but I wouldn't expect everyone to agree. As you've probably guessed, I'm not entirely sold on the Gloucester instrument.

 

Before you can answer that question you have to determine whether a cathedral is a church or a concert hall. Uhhhh ... hard one that.

Link to post
Share on other sites
This gets us into the realm of what we expect a cathedral organ to do. Is its primary job to accompany choirs/services, or is it to play solo repertoire? I guess most of us would agree that it needs to be able to do both and its then a question of where you draw the line of compromise. Personally I think a Clarinet (or Corno di Bassetto if you must) and an Orchestral Oboe are essential voices in a cathedral organ, but I wouldn't expect everyone to agree. As you've probably guessed, I'm not entirely sold on the Gloucester instrument.

 

It is a funny thing, but I do agree with you regarding Clarinets and Orchestral Oboes. Yet at the same time, having played Gloucester on many occasions - including a number of services - I have never missed them! There are always other aural compensations.

 

For example, I find the sound of the 8p, 4p and 2/23p flutes quite delightful when improvising a descant to a Psalm verse. Or occasionally, a single 8p stop (uncoupled). This was, in any case, something which RD attempted to persuade the incumbent organists to do at the time of the 1971 rebuild.

 

Then again, I can go to ( for example) Bristol, Salisbury, Exeter or Ripon, and in a few minutes I am revelling in the lovely tone-colours of Violes, Clarinets, Harmonic Flutes and the like.

 

I am just happy to be playing some of the loveliest instruments around - of whatever type or design.

 

To me, the important question is: 'Can I make music on this organ?'

Link to post
Share on other sites
To me, the important question is: 'Can I make music on this organ?'

 

For me I think this encapsulates it all though I would rephrase it to read " Can music be made on this organ" to allow it to apply to someone like myself who is never going to be allowed to play on the celebrated organs enumerated in PCNDs post, nor the one not far from Casterbridge which he did not mention.

 

I would then add the rider that the question "can music be made on this organ" is certainly not the same question as "can music which I personally like or approve of be made on this organ ?". I am sure that the number on this board who confuse the definition of music with personal taste fluctuates between a peak of tiny and a low point of non-existent.

 

Brian Childs

Link to post
Share on other sites
For example, I find the sound of the 8p, 4p and 2/23p flutes quite delightful when improvising a descant to a Psalm verse.

 

Well, of course, at St George's Windsor (which you've played) you have these and a Corno di Bassetto and Orch Oboe! I'm also rather partial to descanting on a Solo 4' flute (alone).

Link to post
Share on other sites

OK - now I am puzzled.

 

If you know that I have played this organ, I must know you. I do not think that I have mentioned playing it in this forum....

 

Ergo, you know either because you were there at the time - or you must be....

 

:)

 

Yes - I know that this is neither informative or scholarly, but, like Brian Childs, I am also interested in attempting to guess who is masquerading behind which pseudonym.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Then again, I can go to ( for example) Bristol, Salisbury, Exeter or Ripon, and in a few minutes I am revelling in the lovely tone-colours of Violes, Clarinets, Harmonic Flutes and the like.

 

 

mmmm, Ripon... The first organ I had lessons on! A lovely machine.

Link to post
Share on other sites
mmmm, Ripon... The first organ I had lessons on! A lovely machine.

 

I seem to remember taking a car full of my mates to hear Karl Richter play an all-Bach programme there just after I passed my driving test. It was part of the Harrogate Festival. I suspect it would be the summer of 1972.

Link to post
Share on other sites

And what if the least musical stop wasn't on any windchest

but had its slide in our own heads?

 

Its name: Judgment. A beautifull french name is: jugement de valeur.

 

Of course we all need an ability to judge. But when listening to an organ

we need an annulator -"judgment off".

Better to drawn the "attempt to understand" stop knob.

 

(And YES it's somewhat painfull to walk with that slide in one's head...)

 

Pierre

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Lee Blick
I'm also rather partial to descanting on a Solo 4' flute (alone).

 

Me too! :)

 

... especially if it is something plainsong like. It is sort of like a shepherd playing a pipe on the side of a lonely mountain.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest stevecbournias
Dulcianas - every time.

 

But you all know that....

 

I also occasionally dislike Claribel Flutes - even the name is weird. It sounds like a suitable name for the daughter of an arable farmer currently residing in Georgia. (The US state - not the country of Stalin's birth.)

 

Having said that, there are some nice Claribel Flutes which were made by Willis. I think that it is the examples made by a certain west-country builder, ("This organ has received our best attention to-day"), to which I object.

 

However, the specific stop which I probably hate the most is the H&H Tromba 8p on the GO at Crediton Parish Church.

 

(No, I do not hate the entire organ!)

 

 

Regarding Clarabellas,Claribels.Harmonic Claribels, and Claribel Flutes:

 

I have heard most of them right here on this side of the vast divide. Seems like they were devised there and emigrated here to the states a long time ago. The more adventurous among the builders even had them paired with Clarabella Celestes.

 

Now the one specimen that takes the prize for sheer beauty of speech and vowel and sustained liquid tone is at East Liberty Presbyterian Church, Pittsburgh, Penn, a 1935 Aeolian-Skinner with post additions 1970s 80s and a total rebuild soon by Goulding&Wood for 2007 presently 127 ranks on 4 manuals with added State Trumpet hooded in the Triforium; Chamade in the rear Gallery; Mirabilis outside the Solo on 25"; Pedal reed unit on 31 inches from 32' to 4' etc, string section, ad infinitum.

 

The claribel flute on the great is a wonder. Has a certain articulation unlike any these ears ever have heard before. Actually sounds better than the more acclaimed Skinner Flauto Mirabilis in the solo on 10".

 

Forgot to mention the high pressure battery of great trombas on 10" at 16-8-4.

Link to post
Share on other sites
mmmm, Ripon... The first organ I had lessons on! A lovely machine.

I've never yet made it to Ripon to hear the organ there - something to do with it being off the rail network and involving an hour's bus ride from Leeds, probably. So I can only judge from the recordings I have, and I must say on Andrew Bryden's recent Regent CD, and continuing the theme of least musical stops, on the recording the 1963 Harrison 32ft Bombardon sounds like a very loud pneumatic drill.

 

JJ, London

Link to post
Share on other sites
But when listening to an organ

we need an annulator -"judgment off".

Better to drawn the "attempt to understand" stop knob.

I'm not sure I agree. Or at least I do, but only partly. Judgement should always be informed, but to suspend judgement entirely and ignore what your ears are trying to tell you is surely wrong.

 

I don't think it's wrong to make judgements. It's a sign of discrimination. If you haven't got a sense of taste, how are you going to make music? But taste is an individual thing and I am more than happy to acknowledge that other people can have different tastes that are no less valid than mine.

 

I'm confident I understand the intention behind Open Woods and, yes, on a good organ they produce a marvellous rolling sound. However, I phrased my original question deliberately to ask specifically about making music. A glorious sound and a musical performance are two different things; hopefully the latter will include the former, but the former does not automatically produce in the latter (the old elephant trap that we have all had to learn to negotiate). But I guess what I really meant was that although they can lend a nice sonority to music, they are entirely dispensible. French Romantic organs manage perfectly well without them.

 

I admit that I fail entirely to understand the thinking behind the Hohl Flute. It must surely be the stop with the fewest upper partials - just a thick, fat wall of sound that makes its presence felt in a far too obvious way (which I suppose is another way of saying that it doesn't blend very well - because of the dearth of said partials maybe?) Many Clarabellas/Claribel Flutes are almost as bad, though, as others have pointed out, there are some good examples around.

 

PS My goodness, I'm in a pompous mood today. :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

The problem is that in order to judge, we need references.

But the references we can have are limited to the very little

knowledge we already have!

So we can judge anything with what we already know only.

 

Imagine this: when I visited Britain about 10 times in the 70's,

had I "judged" the british organ with reference to the late-romantic

belgian organs I knew, I would never have understand anything

of them.

 

When we first hear a new organ, we need to do so like a child,

without comparing, with and empty mind.

Otherwise I'd always tell the british organists that took the care

to receive me "Yes-but-a-Kerkhoff-that's-better-for-this-and-that",

blah blah blah.....

 

Any organ I do not know has a lesson -this time a true one- to

give me. No matter its style. I'm not there to give IT any lesson

with my very limited knowledge!

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Lee Blick

I think can an Open Wood 16ft can be useful, for example to give gravitas in the solo pedal entries in the Fantasia and Fugue on B-A-C-H by list. But it would be very distracting if used in the long held pedal note 'A' in the Prelude & Fugue in A by Bach (sorry cant remember the BVM no.).

 

I'm not a great fan of scratchy Viol da Gambas/Viol d'orchestre, particularly if it is a Viol/Voix celeste. I much prefer a silky, liquid undulating sound, especially of the Willis type.

 

I know Vox Humanas are useful in the works of Cesar Franck but never really ever needed to use one. A good one can sound better than a sythesized keyboard 'choir sound'. I am tempted to though to draw it with the tremulant as a "And here's your host..." to introduce the sermon.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Lee Blick

Hohlflotes:

 

I never use them in combination in anything except with an open diapason, if the diapason is a little weedy.

 

I like them as a gentle solo stop if it is on a choir or positive. I like to use it again as a solo stop used with a nazard, or a larigot or a tierce.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm not a great fan of scratchy Viol da Gambas/Viol d'orchestre, particularly if it is a Viol/Voix celeste.  I much prefer a silky, liquid undulating sound, especially of the Willis type.

 

 

I recommend either the Solo Violoncello and its undulating partner at Salisbury, or the Viole and Céleste on the Solo at Coventry - both of them are, well, gorgeous.

Link to post
Share on other sites
You shold try standing in the decani stalls whilst your colleague is using it. It appeared to obliterate everything else.

 

It did, and I assume it still does. We loved it in the choirstalls, in a typically choirboy "anything loud is good" kind of way. That and the squeaky hand...

Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm not a great fan of scratchy Viol da Gambas/Viol d'orchestre, particularly if it is a Viol/Voix celeste. I much prefer a silky, liquid undulating sound, especially of the Willis type.
I reccomend either the Solo Violoncello and its undulating partner at Salisbury, or the Viole and Céleste on the Solo at Coventry - both of them are, well, gorgeous.
I think there is a place for a pair of fairly keen, undulating strings on the Solo, but I don't like them on the Swell. A Swell Flute and Salicional will (or should) blend to produce a useful warmth and prepare the way nicely for the addition of the 8' diapason, but a flute and a keen Viole-type stop only ever seem to sound exactly that - two individual stops. Maybe I've just heard poor examples?

 

I wouldn't call the average Voix Celeste scratchy though. Not an English one at any rate - French and German ones are more keen - though I still like them. English ones I just find warm and far preferable (to my taste, of course) than a Vox Angelica which I just find colourless (though even that has its uses).

Link to post
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.


×
×
  • Create New...