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Cavaillé-Coll (St Mary Magdalene, Torquay)

 

I'm told that the Cavaillé-Coll pipework was all removed and destroyed, and some deliberately trampled underfoot by the "organ builder", when the organ was rebuilt and scaled down to a three decker (sorry, bodged) c. 1980s.

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Apparently the Hautboy is reckoned to be a surviving Cavaillé-Coll rank. However, from my one (very brief) try of this instrument a few years ago, I don't recall it sounding the slightest bit French - and I wouldn't suppose it ever did. Whatever pipework Hele imported, I would expect him to have had it voiced in his own way.

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Supply and demand - he had to start somewhere! George Hele only started organ building in 1866 or thereabouts. So in the 1870s his was still a small, growing business. Even after he had started making his own making metal pipes he didn't have always have the manufacturing capacity to satisy the orders he had.

 

There's an interesting history of the firm here: http://www.pipeorgans.co.uk/history1.htm

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Thanks for that, Vox. :rolleyes:

 

St. Michael, Stoke. Is that St. Michael and all Angels, Devonport? Wasn't there a large Rothwell/Hele there which was broken up a few years back?

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NPOR says so, but sadly (?) it's not one I ever knew.

 

Thanks for that. I checked NPOR, and found that what details they have are what I gave them, but it was nothing like a full survey alas. When I visited, we got the blower going for about a minute before it started smoking, so didn't have much of an idea of the organ's tonal qualities. But it all looked good inside the loft - quite a reasonable quality job and a three decker with a comprehensive spec, I seem to recall.

 

I visited as I was asked if I could do anything to save the instrument, as I had been told it was rather fine and worth saving. Alas, I couldn't. Apparently the church had gone happy-clappy and, despite the fact that the space in the organ loft wasn't going to be used for anything else, they wanted rid of the "relic from the past". I understand that the console was saved and temporarily stored in a garage, but don't know where it's gone since. Unfortunately, the metal work was sold for scrap. Apparently the parishioners enjoyed a party in the church grounds one evening during which all the wood from the organ was used to make a bonfire. :rolleyes::blink:

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Pity about the artistic quality though. It is absolutely typical of Hele that he thought the answer to filling Winchester Cathedral was to add two more Open Diapasons to Willis's two on the Great. Little wonder that alternative views have since prevailed.

 

At least the Hele 'Grand Bombard' 32' and 'Bombard' 16' (as they were originally called) Pedal reeds are still there, and still just as thunderous!

 

Hele's full contribution to the instrument (1905) was as follows: GT. Double Open Diapason 16, Open Diapason 8, Open Diapason 8' Doppel Flöte 8, Principal 4. Flauto Traverso 4. SW. Violin Diapason 8 and the Bombards on the pedal. Apparaently four of the 'new stops' were donated by Winchester Residents. Hele didn't take over the tuning contract until 1913, however.

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Apparently the Hele diapasons were "somewhat ponderous" - which would figure.

 

It occurs to me that when I played at Winchester way back in 1971 (or thereabouts) the organ must still have had its four Open Diapasons and three Principals on the Great. I can't say I remember anything much about it, though, other than that playing it felt like trying to take an elephant for a walk on a lead. Of course by that time the thing had been extensively revoiced by Harrisons.

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At least the Hele 'Grand Bombard' 32' and 'Bombard' 16' (as they were originally called) Pedal reeds are still there, and still just as thunderous!

 

Hele's full contribution to the instrument (1905) was as follows: GT. Double Open Diapason 16, Open Diapason 8, Open Diapason 8' Doppel Flöte 8, Principal 4. Flauto Traverso 4. SW. Violin Diapason 8 and the Bombards on the pedal. Apparaently four of the 'new stops' were donated by Winchester Residents. Hele didn't take over the tuning contract until 1913, however.

Spot on. The Swell still has a Violin Diapason today - I don't know if it is the Hele original. It is rarely used by itself as it was retuned sharp in David Hill's day and now forms a rather lush and broad celeste with the Swell Open Diapason...

I wonder if the Pedal Bombardes were one of the 4 stops donated by the Winchester residents? I know I would be very proud if I had donated that 32 reed which, as the eponyomous Bombarde32 says, is very fine!

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