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'Spotted this during a free period at school - food for thought! I wonder what it sounds like.

 

 

A

 

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

 

 

Well, judging by what they have done at Leeds RC Cathedral, I would suggest that they could make it VERY English in character.

 

The Klais voicer spoke to me for some time, and he expressed his delight at having worked with English voicing/scaling for the first time, and he also suggested that he had learned a great deal in the process.

 

I am impressed at the way Klais have managed to blend old and new at Leeds, where there is not the slightest mis-match.

 

MM

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'Spotted this during a free period at school - food for thought! I wonder what it sounds like.

 

 

A

 

Mein Gott! They're trying to beat us at our own game. Did they have an English consultant/adviser, one wonders, or is this just a Rheinlander's fantasy of what an English concert organ should sound like.

 

JS

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Mein Gott! They're trying to beat us at our own game. Did they have an English consultant/adviser, one wonders, or is this just a Rheinlander's fantasy of what an English concert organ should sound like.

 

JS

 

If Birmingham's Symphony Hall is anything of a yardstick there is a long way to go.

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Mein Gott! They're trying to beat us at our own game. Did they have an English consultant/adviser, one wonders, or is this just a Rheinlander's fantasy of what an English concert organ should sound like.

 

JS

 

 

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

 

 

Even I don't know what an English concert-organ is supposed to sound like.

 

Willis? Norman & Beard? Harrison? Lewis? Taylor? Walker? Compton?

 

They're all such different beasts.

 

MM

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Wot, no Tuba?

 

Did Klais do Wellington Town Hall, New Zealand? That's supposed to be a very fine and stylistically cohesive enlargement. And I've never heard anything but good about Bath Abbey - I've never heard the organ either, although I played the old one....

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Wot, no Tuba?

 

Did Klais do Wellington Town Hall, New Zealand? That's supposed to be a very fine and stylistically cohesive enlargement. And I've never heard anything but good about Bath Abbey - I've never heard the organ either, although I played the old one....

 

I have played the organ of Bath Abbey a few times (including service work). I also played it in its previous incarnation which, franky, I preferred. Whilst there may have been a number of mechanical, electrical and winding issues to sort out, I do not think that it is better for (1) losing an entire department or (2) being reconstructed with mechanical action - particularly at the expense of the Swell octave couplers. (If they could retain them on the Solo Organ....)

 

In addition, I thought that the chorus reeds were all rather similar - particularly the two Pedal 16ft. reeds. And, if one is going to have a Gamba on the G.O., at least make it a bit 'string-like' - this just sounds like an anaemic Diapason.

 

As far as the console is concerned, I found the thumb pistons ever-so-slightly inconvenient, due to their size - presumably a neccessity, given the layout of the mechanical action.

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Peter King discusses the 1997 rebuild at Bath at http://peterking.org...h_organ_18.html ,

 

A good many seem to have very polarised views on this instrument and it is interesting to read these when they surface. All this is very subjective of course but having practiced on and sung for a number of years regularly with the organ in its previous incarnation I agree with all of Dr Peter King's points made in the above article (which I had not seen before) about the old and the new following the Klais 'reorganisation'. As a reasonably frequent attendee at recitals in the Abbey and having played the organ albeit sometime ago this organ is one I like very much. To me at any rate it 'plays' well and certainly the sound is fantastically exciting either liturgically or in the hands of those willing not to just play 'by convention' but with open ears so to speak. The musicians who work with it sunday by sunday use it superbly within the first rate musical tradition at the Abbey and I feel sure none of them would have accepted anything second best when the work was done. Likewise many recitalists who play at Bath are favourably disposed towards it. It is to me proof that the dogged determination of Peter King et al in the early days (and with some not inconsiderable opposition from those supposedly 'in the know') to get something really effective and above all really musical paid off.

 

A

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A good many seem to have very polarised views on this instrument and it is interesting to read these when they surface. All this is very subjective of course but having practiced on and sung for a number of years regularly with the organ in its previous incarnation I agree with all of Dr Peter King's points made in the above article (which I had not seen before) about the old and the new following the Klais 'reorganisation'. As a reasonably frequent attendee at recitals in the Abbey and having played the organ albeit sometime ago this organ is one I like very much. To me at any rate it 'plays' well and certainly the sound is fantastically exciting either liturgically or in the hands of those willing not to just play 'by convention' but with open ears so to speak. The musicians who work with it sunday by sunday use it superbly within the first rate musical tradition at the Abbey and I feel sure none of them would have accepted anything second best when the work was done. Likewise many recitalists who play at Bath are favourably disposed towards it. It is to me proof that the dogged determination of Peter King et al in the early days (and with some not inconsiderable opposition from those supposedly 'in the know') to get something really effective and above all really musical paid off.

 

A

 

This does seem to be the case with this organ - however, I stand by my own comments; although I realise that much will be due to personal taste.

 

Notwithstanding, one thing about this instrument is certain: it is loud. No question.

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I felt a few pangs of nostalgia, reading about the Bath Abbey organ. It was my joy to tune there as a young apprentice (c 1979-81), so I knew the old HN&B job pretty well. I can't deny that mechanically it left a lot to be desired but, in the best of British cut and shut traditions, it was an instrument that amounted to far more than the sum of its parts. Why that should be, I'm not sure but even now it stirs the emotions. I particularly treasure David Sanger's recording of the Jongen Sonata Eroica from Bath. The interpretation is measured, the use of the organs' resources well thought out and the final pages never fail to excite, with a towering surge of power in the final toccata-like section (triplet chords over pedals in octaves) and then the headlong rush in thirds to those huge chords in the coda. To my mind this was playing of an enduring stature that was influenced and inspired by the instrument.

 

I recall the thrill of ascending the long ladder to the Tuba chest...the ladder was screwed to one of the largest notes of the Double Open Wood 32ft. From the top one could see the fan vaulting close up. Peering down the back of the organ from the top, one could see the Double Trumpet 32ft. The Tuba itself was a fabulous bright, ringing stop. I remember looking at the Tuba shallots, sculpted inside with red sealing wax, which Arthur Rundle used to help keep the tone bright. Tuning the old Pedal Trombone 16 & 8ft was a shock. Access to the chest was confined and the hooded top notes aimed right at you...ferociously loud!

 

The Positive was a delight and I once met Roland Rawdings, who had voiced that section at Hornsey. He came up the spiral staircase to the console, a most polite and unassuming man. We chatted amiably for some time before he revealed himself to me ! I'm not sure that he had ever heard the Positive section in the Abbey prior to that.

 

The Great reeds were rather awkward to tune, being a large scale and crammed in. Seeing the tuning springs was pretty difficult but the reward of a chorus of Hill Posaunes tightly in tune was worth the effort. The old Norman & Beard Solo Clarinet, Strings and Vox were full of character and the Choir Trompette quite zingy.

 

I loved the arcaded console jambs, the sumptuous stop knobs and square sugar-cube thumb pistons. Of course, after a hard days' work tuning, there was the pleasure of 'testing' the organ with some improvisation.

 

Can anyone else think of an instrument that is more than the sum of its parts...and why that should be. Is it just luck and acoustic flattery ?

 

H

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I felt a few pangs of nostalgia, reading about the Bath Abbey organ. It was my joy to tune there as a young apprentice (c 1979-81), so I knew the old HN&B job pretty well. I can't deny that mechanically it left a lot to be desired but, in the best of British cut and shut traditions, it was an instrument that amounted to far more than the sum of its parts. Why that should be, I'm not sure but even now it stirs the emotions. I particularly treasure David Sanger's recording of the Jongen Sonata Eroica from Bath. The interpretation is measured, the use of the organs' resources well thought out and the final pages never fail to excite, with a towering surge of power in the final toccata-like section (triplet chords over pedals in octaves) and then the headlong rush in thirds to those huge chords in the coda. To my mind this was playing of an enduring stature that was influenced and inspired by the instrument.

 

I recall the thrill of ascending the long ladder to the Tuba chest...the ladder was screwed to one of the largest notes of the Double Open Wood 32ft. From the top one could see the fan vaulting close up. Peering down the back of the organ from the top, one could see the Double Trumpet 32ft. The Tuba itself was a fabulous bright, ringing stop. I remember looking at the Tuba shallots, sculpted inside with red sealing wax, which Arthur Rundle used to help keep the tone bright. Tuning the old Pedal Trombone 16 & 8ft was a shock. Access to the chest was confined and the hooded top notes aimed right at you...ferociously loud!

 

The Positive was a delight and I once met Roland Rawdings, who had voiced that section at Hornsey. He came up the spiral staircase to the console, a most polite and unassuming man. We chatted amiably for some time before he revealed himself to me ! I'm not sure that he had ever heard the Positive section in the Abbey prior to that.

 

The Great reeds were rather awkward to tune, being a large scale and crammed in. Seeing the tuning springs was pretty difficult but the reward of a chorus of Hill Posaunes tightly in tune was worth the effort. The old Norman & Beard Solo Clarinet, Strings and Vox were full of character and the Choir Trompette quite zingy.

 

I loved the arcaded console jambs, the sumptuous stop knobs and square sugar-cube thumb pistons. Of course, after a hard days' work tuning, there was the pleasure of 'testing' the organ with some improvisation.

 

Can anyone else think of an instrument that is more than the sum of its parts...and why that should be. Is it just luck and acoustic flattery ?

 

H

 

John Norman said that Bath was one of his favourites among the jobs HN&B did in his time. Marlborough College was another.

 

As Stephen Bicknell pointed out, the use of too much old action, etc, proved the undoing of many famous jobs. The Milton Organ at Tewkesbury sounded very fine in the building, yet it was apparently cobbled together from all sorts of odds and bits.

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I felt a few pangs of nostalgia, reading about the Bath Abbey organ. It was my joy to tune there as a young apprentice (c 1979-81), so I knew the old HN&B job pretty well. I can't deny that mechanically it left a lot to be desired but, in the best of British cut and shut traditions, it was an instrument that amounted to far more than the sum of its parts. Why that should be, I'm not sure but even now it stirs the emotions. I particularly treasure David Sanger's recording of the Jongen Sonata Eroica from Bath. The interpretation is measured, the use of the organs' resources well thought out and the final pages never fail to excite, with a towering surge of power in the final toccata-like section (triplet chords over pedals in octaves) and then the headlong rush in thirds to those huge chords in the coda. To my mind this was playing of an enduring stature that was influenced and inspired by the instrument.

 

I recall the thrill of ascending the long ladder to the Tuba chest...the ladder was screwed to one of the largest notes of the Double Open Wood 32ft. From the top one could see the fan vaulting close up. Peering down the back of the organ from the top, one could see the Double Trumpet 32ft. The Tuba itself was a fabulous bright, ringing stop. I remember looking at the Tuba shallots, sculpted inside with red sealing wax, which Arthur Rundle used to help keep the tone bright. Tuning the old Pedal Trombone 16 & 8ft was a shock. Access to the chest was confined and the hooded top notes aimed right at you...ferociously loud!

 

The Positive was a delight and I once met Roland Rawdings, who had voiced that section at Hornsey. He came up the spiral staircase to the console, a most polite and unassuming man. We chatted amiably for some time before he revealed himself to me ! I'm not sure that he had ever heard the Positive section in the Abbey prior to that.

 

The Great reeds were rather awkward to tune, being a large scale and crammed in. Seeing the tuning springs was pretty difficult but the reward of a chorus of Hill Posaunes tightly in tune was worth the effort. The old Norman & Beard Solo Clarinet, Strings and Vox were full of character and the Choir Trompette quite zingy.

 

I loved the arcaded console jambs, the sumptuous stop knobs and square sugar-cube thumb pistons. Of course, after a hard days' work tuning, there was the pleasure of 'testing' the organ with some improvisation.

 

Can anyone else think of an instrument that is more than the sum of its parts...and why that should be. Is it just luck and acoustic flattery ?

 

H

 

Having played the former instrument, I would certainly agree with this. It had a great personality - and huge character. The G.O. chorus in the Abbey was a big sound and there was a wealth of beautiful quiet effects. I, too, loved the old console (although at least the stop jambs have been preserved in the present instrument). I must admit that I preferred the old organ - particularly the chorus reeds. Those on the present instrument are all too similar - and seem to fall uneasily between styles; they are neither typically English or German. It could be argued that they are an effective compromise. As far as I am concerned, it could also be propounded that they are ineffective as either.

 

Yes, the 'new' instrument is an exciting sound - this is difficult to refute. But I remain convinced that an equally exciting and thoroughly musical instrument could have been built from the former parts, without the substantial revoicing and reconstruction which it received. I wonder also whether this option might not have not have been somewat less expensive.

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