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pcnd5584

The Organ at Wyggeston & Queen Elizabeth I College

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A colleague has alerted me to the fact that the organ in the Great Hall at Wyggeston & Queen Elizabeth I College - formerly Wyggeston Boys' School (Leicester) is in urgent need of a new home. It is a two manual Walker organ dating from 1932 The NPOR link is here: http://npor.emma.cam...ec_index=D07877

 

The balcony on which it stands is to be re-developed and the organ will be disposed of, if no offer of removal to a new home is forthcoming. If anyone knows of a church (or school, etc) requiring an instrument of this size and design, please contact me by PM, and I can put you in touch with someone who used to play it and who has drawn this to my attention.

 

Thank you.

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I hope this organ finds a home - a shame that the school, with a distinguished history of producing organists, will no longer have an instrument.

 

As an aside, how common was the presence of Nazard and Tierce in British organs of the 1930s?

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As an aside, how common was the presence of Nazard and Tierce in British organs of the 1930s?

 

Not too uncommon - the idea was that the mutations could be used to synthesise and colour, but together they would constitute a mixture. This was certainly the way Willis III looked at it, and was acclaimed by such people as Sam Clutton who wrote that the Willis Cornet was a wondrous thing which could do almost anything except make the tea. Apart from Willis and Walker, the practice is also seen in some organs by Spurden Rutt, such as St. Cyprian's, Clarence Gate (http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?Fn=Rsearch&rec_index=N17044), an interesting looking beast which I would like to play sometime as I think it might improve my general opinion of Rutt organs.

 

Walkers' built a similar instrument at Humberstone Parish Church, Leicestershire, at the west end in a nice case, which has been well spoken-of. http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?Fn=Rsearch&rec_index=N04579

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Interesting, David, and thank you. Odd that there are mutations but no mixtures. The lack of a pedal stopped 16' at Wyggeston is surprising.

 

I remember when I first became interested in pipe organs and stoplists c. 1970 mutations and high-pitched mixtures were subject to much ridicule both in my local organists' association and in the pages of the Organists' Review.

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Well worth a play - rather nice tuba

 

E.M. Pinkney, organist at St. Cyprian's, described his instrument's character (in Musical Opinion) as "particularly ripe", a phrase which i have treasured ever since. I am given to understand that the same phrase would be apt to describe the churchmanship too.

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Mutations or mixtures? If you could have one or the other which would you prefere? I imagine most British Organists would prefere to have a mixture in the chorus on both manuals before thinking about the benefits of having the nazard and tierce, but it's obvious that back in the 30's some regarded the mutations as an important new addition to the standard specification.

 

In Canada Casavant were maybe just a few years late in joining the Neo-Baroque movemnt, and when they did (with the arrival of Lawrence Phelps on staff in the late 50's) the change was nothing short of radical. Mutations appeared on large Casavants after about 1930, but it wasn't until the 50's when they became common place. Interestingly, in the early 50's Casavant would sometimes provide mutations on the choir but still not include mixtures. An example of this was the recently dismantled organ of Kew Beach United Church in Toronto, no mixtures anywhere to be seen, but choir mutations and their standard 'dolce cornet' on the swell (a cameloen of a stop... useful in chorus, or as a solo cornet, or even with the strings like to produce a 'cornet de viols'(!)). The one other difference this organ possessed from the old 1930's practices of the firm, was an open metal 16' on the pedal instead of the usual Open Wood - I do wonder whywhen so little else in the tonal design changed...

 

The 1950's is an interesting time for organ building, but you need to go to North America to see most of it as Britain didn't have much money for organ building by that time. It's interesting to see how practices changed gradually, and many 'tranistional' organs exist. There are a few in the UK - Willis III's rebuild at the McEwan Hall Edinburgh is good example.

 

The most marked change in the Casavant firm came in the changes to voicing practices in 1958. I know several instruments from this year, and some have classical voicing (open toe, lower pressure, spotted metal) and others (presumably completed earlier in the year) have traditional Romanitc voicing. There even some other odities. I came accross on 1958 Casavant with neo classical voicing - lots of chiff - and the spec read: ped 16,8, Gt 8,8,8,4 Sw 8,8,8,8,4,8 !! This one wasn't exactly successful in my books, but another 'transitional' I saw was. It included an enclosed Gt and Sw, with mixtures to both manuals and mutations on the swell, all Romantically voiced, although smaller pipe scales used throughout, making the organ rather less thick toned than those back in the 30's - especially nice are the slightly brighter reeds of this period. This proved a versatile instrument, and a refreshing change from the very thick tone present most 20's and 30's built instruments in the city.

 

Although Casavant built over 200 organs in Toronto in the 20th Century, most have been rebuild - more often than not, rather unsympathetically IMHO. Finding nice original instruments here is always a pleasure, whatever the period.

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A point which I think needs to be emphasised is that, at this period, mutations could be regarded as constituents of a mixture. You could use them selectively as synthetics or for baroque music (if you were that way inclined), but collectively they were seen as constituting the chorus mixture. That is certainly the way the Willis 2 2/3, 2, 1 3/5 was regarded, sometimes appearing as the three constituent stops rather than altogether on one slide, and I think the same view was taken by Walkers' and Rutt.

 

Few at the time realised the importance of breaks, so drawing the mutations together was seen as providing a mixture. Similarly, Compton's mixtures often went all the way up without breaking and sometimes, especially in the Swell appeared as separate mutations (quints and unisons).

 

http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?Fn=Rsearch&rec_index=N07503 (St. Osmund, Parkstone)

 

Clarion Doublette mentions the standard Swell Cornet 8.12.15.17. My organ has one of these and it does indeed perform all the functions he mentions, especially if the octave coupler is regarded (as I believe it must be in these instruments) as an integral part of the tonal scheme. I would like a normal chorus mixture as well, but I can't think of anything I could sacrifice in order to find room for it, despite having two diapasons and two flutes at 8' pitch in the Swell in addition to a pair of strings and a Vox!

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