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Least Musical Stop


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Guest stevecbournias
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.

 

 

Side Point of Interest:

 

The 1934 Solo celli at Salisbury must be really special Willis creations because when Richard J Piper emigrated to the USA from the Willis III Works in 1949 to Austin Organs Inc in Hartford, Conn he brought with him among other things those solo strings (in concept)and started using them on organs he designed and voiced for Austin here in the USA. Now I have heard recordings of the 1934 Willis III Celli in question here and the Austin organ I am permitted to use which Piper re-designed in 1960 has those exact strings in the Solo and I am very enamoured of them but note: I found I can use the celeste with the Solo English Horn; with the Swell Geigen 8; with the Solo Concert Flute 4; as part of a general combination of what I call early Americana organ based on all unison tone. The point is that I am "in tune" with what you gentlemen are talking about by virtue of this development involving the Willis-Piper connection. Mind you; old Willis III was quite proud that his men staffed all the major USA firms; Harrison at Aeolian-Skinner; Whitelegg at Moller; and Piper at Austin.

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
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.

 

 

 

On paper, the French don't have them, but in practice they do - or as near as!

On a Cavaille-Coll organ your Open Wood equivalent is labelled Flute* 16. *(with a circonflex - I don't know how to get one on a computer). These may not exactly compare with your average Open Wood (mind you, these are so widely different from builder to builder that there is not really an English standard) but both purpose and tone are near enough the same.

 

Actually, Flute 16 is a better definition of the stop - Open Woods really aren't members of the Principal family at all.

 

As regards Clarabellas/Open Wood Flutes generally, I would agree that these are not stops to specify early on in a small-moderate sized organ; there are, however, some gorgeous ones around. I acquired one with a complete 10-stop Great organ (built by Nicholson & Lord) - a divison I had bought third hand and had never heard before dismantling. The specification had Open 8, Stopped 8' and Clarabella. I thought that it had to be worth at least trying it, since all the pipes were already racked in. Once I had heard it there was no question - musically justified or not, it had to stay!

 

The first stop I would specify in any scheme is a decent Stopped Diapason. You can sit a fine chorus on one, and they are enchanting in almost all repertoire. However, their one deficiency is that they are not an ideal solo voice - the audible harmonic and the irregularities that are part of genuine SD charm can disrupt a smooth musical line. For this purpose a good open wood flute (or a Harmonic Flute) are near to ideal.

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On paper, the French don't have them, but in practice they do - or as near as!

On a Cavaille-Coll organ your Open Wood equivalent is labelled Flute* 16. *(with a circonflex - I don't know how to get one on a computer).  These may not exactly compare with your average Open Wood (mind you, these are so widely different from builder to builder that there is not really an English standard) but both purpose and tone are near enough the same.

Thanks for that clarification, Paul. As you can probably tell, I have never had the chance to play a French organ. It's a big aching hole in my life. I hope one day I might get around to filling it.
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What about the 32ft Double Open Wood at Durham Cathedral? dors'nt make a noise, just makes the air "shimmer" marvelous at the end of Master Tallis's Testament :D
Yes, Peter! I have no use for loud 32' flues, but soft ones, mmmm.....! :D
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Yes, Peter! I have no use for loud 32' flues, but soft ones, mmmm.....! :D

trust me to be in a hurry, I miss read the topic header. I know its not musical, but it does lend some gravitas to some quiet endings

Peter.

ps, just listning to "The Art of Peter Hurford" there are quite a few "un musical" sounds emenating from the desk top pc :D

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I think can an Open Wood 16ft can be useful, But it would be very distracting if used in the long held pedal note 'A' in the Prelude & Fugue in A by Bach

 

I sort of agree, however there is a 'courses for horses' argument. In the late '70s i heard a stunning recital by Francis Jackson at Rochdale Town Hall. This organ (NPOR N01507) is everything that you would expect a 1913 Binns in a Northern Town Hall to be - and wonderful for it. FJ commenced his recital with JSBs A minor Prelude & Fugue (can't remember BWV either). The opening registration was a somewhat menacing closed Full Sw underpinned by Pedal Open Woods 32, 16 & 8. The effect was electrifying.

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On paper, the French don't have them, but in practice they do - or as near as!

On a Cavaille-Coll organ your Open Wood equivalent is labelled Flute* 16. *(with a circonflex - I don't know how to get one on a computer). 

 

 

I do not think that I have ever seen a Cavaillé-Coll organ with a Flûte at 16p pitch - 8 and 4, often - but never 16p.

 

He usually named them Contre-Basse. He would also occasionally specify a Principal-Basse at 16p pitch - however, I think that these were often metal.

 

Gloucester does, of course, have a Flute 16p on the Pedal Organ - from the old Bishop organ. The longest pipe actually measures only thirteen feet - the scale is so enormous!

 

As far as accents (or, if you prefer, French letters....) are concerned, do a search on the start bar (not Google!) for 'charmap' (withouth commas!) and this should fetch the character map. I then put mine on as a shortcut to Desktop. If you select the font 'Arial', it has clearly displayed accents for both upper- and lower-case characters.

 

Hoe this helps.

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trust me to be in a hurry, I miss read the topic header. I know its not musical, but it does lend some gravitas to  some quiet  endings
More than that. A pianissimo 32 stirs the very soul. In the right acoustic of course.
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Guest stevecbournias

Here in the well-stocked USA where pipes can be found in the most unlikely of places the worst I personally have encountered is the labial Saxophone stop. It is quite bad whereas the reed version especially a brass specimen can be very satisfying listening. But the non-reed just doesn't cut the mustard.

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I can understand the uproar about Open Wudes, especially on smaller instruments where you get the "dull thud" effect from it being perhaps the only pedal stop. There is a little Sweetland near me that suffers from this.

 

My vote however goes to 8' extensions of Open Woods, or "Octave Woods", especially as the only 8' pedal stop on smaller instruments. I have never found one that doesn't clog everything up.

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Indeed.

 

In my view, this is the last un-musical stop on any organ. I still do not know why Exeter Cathedral retained theirs in the most recent rebuild. With those twelve fat boomers out of the way, they could have had room for a nice 4ft. Shawm, or something really useful.

 

Incidentally David, I have noted your comments regarding my hair (on another thread) and I want you to be afraid - be very afraid....

 

:P

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Musing Muso said "So, I hate Trombas!"

 

Oh dear, what a shame! Although there should be a connection between the name and sound of a stop, this is by no means always the case. The Tromba on the Solo of the Father Willis organ in Oxford Town Hall is a glorious sound. There are good and bad Trombas, and some in between. This is of course, true of any stop. I have come across some less than perfect Dulcianas, whilst others have an infinity of uses, as can also be said of Hohl Flutes.

The H & H organ in St Augustine's Kilburn was a rebuild in 1915 of an 1871 Father Willis. This has Trombas at 8 and 4 on the Great, which are not ideal chorus reeds, and I don't like the mixture with the Tierce in it - but they are fine stops when used on their own. I think they are original Willis.

The NPOR describes it as IV/37 - though the Solo, whilst the keyboard is in place, is only prepared for, so I wonder if III/37 might not be a more accurate description. The keys cannot be depressed. It certainly was a wonderful organ when I last played it some years ago! What it is like today I have no idea.

 

John Foss

www.organsandorganistsonline.com

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Musing Muso said "So, I hate Trombas!"

 

Oh dear, what a shame! Although there should be a connection between the name and sound of a stop, this is by no means always the case. The Tromba on the Solo of the Father Willis organ in Oxford Town Hall is a glorious sound.

 

So is the one on the Solo, on the wonderful Walker at Bristol Cathedral.

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Musing Muso said "So, I hate Trombas!"

 

 

The H & H organ in St Augustine's Kilburn was a rebuild in 1915 of an 1871 Father Willis. This has Trombas at 8 and 4 on the Great, which are not ideal chorus reeds, and I don't like the mixture with the Tierce in it - but they are fine stops when used on their own. I think they are original Willis.

The NPOR describes it as IV/37 - though the Solo, whilst the keyboard is in place, is only prepared for, so I wonder if III/37 might not be a more accurate description. The keys cannot be depressed. It certainly was a wonderful organ when I last played it some years ago! What it is like today I have no idea.

 

John Foss

www.organsandorganistsonline.com

 

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

 

 

Well John, they ain't Trombas. They were re-named (re-voiced) this way by H & H, BUT (and I may get this wrong) I believe the original bits & bobs were found inside the organ, and the Willis sound of rather splashy Trumpets re-established

 

The man who will know is Nigel Allcoat.

 

MM

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[The NPOR describes it as IV/37 - though the Solo, whilst the keyboard is in place, is only prepared for, so I wonder if III/37 might not be a more accurate description. The keys cannot be depressed. It certainly was a wonderful organ when I last played it some years ago! What it is like today I have no idea.

 

John Foss

www.organsandorganistsonline.com

 

 

Hi

 

This sort of thing is a problem - I didn't enter the survey, so I'm didn't see the original documention, but if the 4th manual is present on the console, thenI would have described is as IV - the rest of the survey quickly reveals that the solo dept is prepared for. It's the same principle as recording what stop labels actually say, and adding a note if, as sometimes happens, a stop is changed but the label isn't.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

NPOR Editor

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Mmm. The stop knobs say "Tromba" - and that dates back to the 1915 rebuild, maybe 1923 Additions? I don't think much has been done since then. When is a Tromba not a Tromba? When it is a rehabilitated Father Willis Trumpet? I would be interested to know the source of your information - The Harrison Story perhaps? There are not many people still around from 1915 or 23 - even fewer who would have worked on the organ!

 

As far as Tony Newham's comment re the designation of the organ as IV or III on NPOR, my comment was by way of a rhetorical question to which it is difficult to produce a definitive answer. The keyboard is there, as are the stop knobs, but they don't move. My choice would be III/37 (Fourth manual prepared for), but this would upset the elegant layout of the recently revised NPOR site. This brings us into the realms of "when is a manual not a manual? When it is purely decorative? (and has remained so for 90 years in this case) I somewhat doubt that the organ will be completed now, though it would be an interesting exercise in historic re-construction. It is a talking point!

 

John Foss

www.organsandorganistsonline.com

 

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

Well John, they ain't Trombas. They were re-named (re-voiced) this way by H & H, BUT (and I may get this wrong) I believe the original bits & bobs were found inside the organ, and the Willis sound of rather splashy Trumpets re-established

 

The man who will know is Nigel Allcoat.

 

MM

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Guest Nigel ALLCOAT
Mmm. The stop knobs say "Tromba" - and that dates back to the 1915 rebuild, maybe 1923 Additions? I don't think much has been done since then. When is a Tromba not a Tromba? When it is a rehabilitated Father Willis Trumpet? I would be interested to know the source of your information - The Harrison Story perhaps? There are not many people still around from 1915 or 23 - even fewer who would have worked on the organ!

 

As far as Tony Newham's comment re the designation of the organ as IV or III on NPOR, my comment was by way of a rhetorical question to which it is difficult to produce a definitive answer. The keyboard is there, as are the stop knobs, but they don't move. My choice would be III/37 (Fourth manual prepared for), but this would upset the elegant layout of the recently revised NPOR site. This brings us into the realms of "when is a manual not a manual? When it is purely decorative? (and has remained so for 90 years in this case) I somewhat doubt that the organ will be completed now, though it would be an interesting exercise in historic re-construction. It is a talking point!

 

John Foss

www.organsandorganistsonline.com

 

I shall reply shortly about this well-hidden wonder! I was the Director of Music of this church and am still actively associated with the place and also the organ. Until recently I always played for High Mass on Easter Sunday and I have two people from the choir staying with me in France next week to help lower the French wine lake.

 

But I take umbrage that I am reading about this great organ under this appalling heading.

 

Best wishes,

NJA

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As far as Tony Newham's comment re the designation of the organ as IV or III on NPOR, my comment was by way of a rhetorical question to which it is difficult to produce a definitive answer. The keyboard is there, as are the stop knobs, but they don't move. My choice would be III/37 (Fourth manual prepared for), but this would upset the elegant layout of the recently revised NPOR site. This brings us into the realms of "when is a manual not a manual? When it is purely decorative? (and has remained so for 90 years in this case) I somewhat doubt that the organ will be completed now, though it would be an interesting exercise in historic re-construction. It is a talking point!

 

John Foss

www.organsandorganistsonline.com

 

Hi

 

It's not an option on NPOR - the number of manuals field will only accept a couple of characters! It's deciding what to do about these anomolies that makes NPOR editting such fun! Another scenario would be an organ with 3 manual divisions controlled by 2 keyboards (e.g. Acton Baptist Church or St. Luke's, Bristol Road, Birmingham). I've not looked to see how these appear on NPOR, but are both organs that I've played regularly in the past.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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

Well John, they ain't Trombas. They were re-named (re-voiced) this way by H & H, BUT (and I may get this wrong) I believe the original bits & bobs were found inside the organ, and the Willis sound of rather splashy Trumpets re-established

 

The man who will know is Nigel Allcoat.

 

MM

 

Are you sure that Arthur Harrison re-voiced them? FHW quite often named his 8p GO reed Tromba; c.f.: Canterbury and Truro, for a start. I will try to dig up some others later.

 

In each case, incidentally, the reed in question is a perfectly normal 'Willis' Trumpet - not opaque or harmonically dead.

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Guest Echo Gamba
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.

 

The Clarabel (sic) Flute here is lovely - a "chirpy" chiff to start each note.

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I think I would agree with what Norman & Beard felt about close-toned chorus reeds, which would possibly include Edwardian Swell Cornopeans, as well as the usual Great Trombas.

 

They may have a place as colouring registers in very large instruments, and Trombas often make a nice foil to the more overwhelming sound of Tubas, but in my experience, these type of stops simply do not, and cannot, blend with normal fluework successfully. They blend OK with Tibias however, which possibly says it all!

 

Quite why anyone felt it necessary to improve on the imposing Trumpet registers and much more fiery Tubas of Fr.Willis, is beyond my understanding. One only has to listen to St.Paul's Cathedral to realise how effective such stops were, and then compare these to splendidly restored, but much "clangier" sounds of the Trombas at the RAH.

 

Close toned reeds need to be "bound" to a chorus, and that was possibly the reasoning behind the classic Arthur Harrison/Dixon Harmonics mixture, and when such Mixtures are replaced with quint ones, the effect is not especially fine with the Trombas drawn.

 

Norman & Beard spent a lot of time trying to make closer-toned reeds blend with the fluework, and when Hill, Norman & Beard did their best work, they always chose trumpets over closer-toned reeds, to great effect.

 

So, I hate Trombas!

 

MM

 

Trombas, specifically of the honking type, often 1930's, tick side out on about 8'' pressure. Nasty noise. Quite different from the Willis or Walker ones which have a genuine ring to them.

 

I also have a particular dislike of 'frying bacon' strings. Just because you can get a pipe to go at that scale and with that mouth treatment doesn't make it a good idea.

 

And to the other extreme in style, 'biscuit tin' principals, as found in some prominent recent new instruments.

 

AJS

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