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Mander Organs
Neil Crawford

New Cathedral Organ , Auckland Cathedral

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http://www.nicholsonorgans.co.uk/portfolio/holy-trinity-cathedral-auckland/gallery/current-projects/

 

The New Voice organ commissioned by Holy Trinity Cathedral, Auckland is Nicholson’s largest new work to date, and their first Southern hemisphere contract.

Featuring two stunning cases by leading designer, Didier Grassin, the new organ will sit handsomely on either side of the crossing, in chambers made available by the removal of the nave bridge. From this position, the organ will speak with clarity and eloquence into both the chancel and the nave, whilst drawing the eye through the dramatic new vista opened up along the length of the building.

With 90 speaking stops and 5,322 pipes, the organ will be one of the most significant instruments in the Southern hemisphere and the largest in New Zealand. It will be played from two identical consoles, a fixed console in a loft above the Cathedral’s Marsden Chapel, and a moveable console in the Nave, each with 4-manuals and 122 drawstops, and equipped with the latest technology.

The installation of a large new organ is something that happens rarely, and therefore the new Cathedral organ has been designed to be suitable for the all purposes to which it may be put. The specification is for an instrument that is versatile and eclectic (whilst in the tradition of a British Cathedral organ), so that the choir may be accompanied effectively, congregational singing supported and encouraged (aided by a small but powerful nave facing section of flues on a higher wind pressure), and the entire solo repertoire can be played with conviction.

Most of the pipework will be generously scaled to allow unforced tone with carrying power, and many stops will be of similar dynamic to allow them to be used together, giving a multitude of tonal colours. The (liturgical) south case will accommodate the Swell above Solo, each in an expression box with shutters facing both east and west, and the north organ will house the Great and Choir divisions, with the large Pedal pipes occupying the site of the present Harrison organ (low frequencies can effectively diffuse around corners and obstructions). There will be loud stops for excitement such as the Orchestral Trumpet and Tuba Mirabilis, and the Pedal will have a new unenclosed Bombarde rank to add power and colour to the tutti, but there will be a very wide range of quieter stops to soothe the ears when required (including a family of Strings on the Solo from 16’ to a three rank Cornet de Violes).

The organ includes both an Open Wood and a Sub-bourdon at 32 feet in order to deliver the sense of very low-pitched gravitas expected of a Cathedral organ. The Great and Swell chorus reeds will be on higher pressure than the fluework allowing their voicing to be firm but bright, with the Great reeds being reasonably sonorous and rich, and the Swell reeds having more ‘fire’.

Two sets of bells – a twelve-note Carillon and an Étoile Sonore (consisting of a rotating metal star on which several small bells are mounted, producing a continuous tinkling sound when the stop is engaged), complete the generously comprehensive specification.

Manuals CC to C (61 notes) : Pedals CCC to G (32 notes)
Pitch 440Hz @ 21.1oC

Great Organ
Double Open Diapason
Open Diapason I
Open Diapason II
Gamba
Stopped Diapason
Harmonic Flute
Principal
Wald Flute
Twelfth
Fifteenth
Seventeenth
Fourniture IV 15.19.22.26
Sharp Mixture III 26.29.33
Tremulant
Contra Posaune
Posaune
Clarion

West Great Organ
Open Diapason
Octave
Superoctave
Mixture V 15.19.22.26.29

Swell Organ (enclosed)
Contra Salicional
Open Diapason
Gedeckt
Salicional
Voix Celestes T.C.
Principal
Nason Flute
Fifteenth
Mixture III 17.19.22
Oboe
Voix Humaine
Tremulant
Double Trumpet
Cornopean
Clarion
Swell Octave
Swell Suboctave
Swell Unison Off

Choir Organ
Bourdon
Open Diapason
Bourdon
Principal
Chimney Flute
Nazard
Fifteenth
Recorder
Tierce
Larigot
Septieme
Flageolet
Mixture III 19.22.26
Cremona
Tremulant
Tuba Mirabilis
(from Solo)
Orchestral Trumpet
(from Solo)
Choir Octave
Choir Suboctave
Choir Unison Off
Étoile Sonore

16
8
8
8
8
8
4
4
22/3
2
13/5
-
-

16
8
4


8
4
2



16
8
8
8
8
4
4
2
-
8
8

16
8
4





16
8
8
4
4
22/3
2
2
13/5
11/3
11/7
1
-
8

8

8
Solo Organ (enclosed)
Contra Viole
Viole d’Orchestre
Viole Celeste T.C.
Concert Flute
Flute Celeste T.C.
Octave Viole
Harmonic Flute
Harmonic Piccolo
Cornet de Violes III
10.12.15
Cor Anglais
Corno di Bassetto
Tremulant
French Horn
Orchestral Trumpet

Solo Organ (unenclosed)
Tuba Mirabilis
Solo Octave
Solo Suboctave
Solo Unison Off
Carillon

Pedal Organ
Double Open Wood
Contra Bourdon
Open Wood
Open Metal
Open Diapason
(from Great)
Bourdon
Salicional
Echo Bourdon
(from Choir)
Quint
Octave Wood
Principal
Bass Flute
Salicet
Tierce
Quint
Septieme
Fifteenth
Open Flute
Mixture IV 19.22.26.29
Contra Bombarde
Bombarde
French Horn
(from Solo)
Bombarde Clarion

Pedal Enclosed Reeds
Contra Trombone
Trombone
Tromba

16
8
8
8
8
4
4
2
-

8
8

16
8


8



12 notes


32
32
16
16
16

16
16
16

102/3
8
8
8
8
62/5
51/3
44/7
4
4
-
32
16
16

8


32
16
8

Couplers, Transfers and Playing Aids

Solo to Swell
Solo to Great
Solo to Choir
Swell to Great
Swell to Choir
Great to Choir
Choir to Great
Solo to Pedal
Swell to Pedal
Great to Pedal
Choir to Pedal
Great Reeds on Solo
Great Reeds on Pedal
West Great on Solo
Generals on Swell Toe Pistons
Great & Pedal Pistons Coupled
Pedal Divide
Stepper
Sequencer
Card reader

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Presumably there is some re-use of the H&H ranks - eg the Salicional unit?

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I wonder how long it is since a British builder last made a Cornet des Violes? Colston Hall, Bristol?

 

Most impressive, although I would have liked to see a second mixture in the Swell....

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Timothy Noon is the Director of Music - ex of Liverpool Met ......................... The organist is Philip Smith from St. Peter's in Ruthin, N. Wales

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I think the Colston Hall was the last UK Cornet de Violes - amazing how the pendulum of fashion has swung back.

 

James Lancelot gives a demo of the remarkable one at Durham on the new Priory DVD.

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I wonder how long it is since a British builder last made a Cornet des Violes? Colston Hall, Bristol?

 

Most impressive, although I would have liked to see a second mixture in the Swell....

 

As would I - and a Quint Mixture at that.

 

The only other change I would make (on paper) is to substitute a Cymbale (29-33-36) for the Choir Mixture (19-22-26). This is my least favourite arrangement. Firstly, I regard it as too low in pitch, particularly with the wealth of (albeit flute) mutations available. Secondly, it has too many quint ranks. Thirdly, it culminates in an uncovered quint rank - which I find to be unsatisfactory.

 

Otherwise, on paper, it looks to be very well-designed with a good balance and spread of voices throughout the instrument. It is also good to see a choice of 32ft. flues (and reeds) available.

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Yes, I think we've been frightened off cymbales in recent years, maybe because a lot of them (and other mixtures) from the previous generation tended to be unsociable, but they don't need to be so and the effect is more in the voicing than the pitch.

 

As far as the Swell is concerned, I think it's good that the chorus tops out a little above that on the Great so that it has a brighter character in dialogue and adds something when coupled. A single tierce mixture of grave composition seems odd on an instrument of this size, although perhaps it doesn't break very early - or the use of the octave coupler is envisaged.

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With such a complete stop-list (four 32-foots: wonderful!), I’m not sure I wouldn’t have included a fanfare trumpet of some sort, to contrast with but, on occasions, add to the Tuba; probably, wish for it to be sited on the other side of the arch, to enable antiphonal effects, and have it playable from the Choir.

 

I’m sure the finished result will sound most grand.

 

[For some inexplicable reason, I have been unable to sign in for a long time.]

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Ralph Downes included an open flute 2ft on practically all his pedal organs. Is this now unfashionable?

I should have thought that this would be a useful addition to fortify a 4' for pedal solos. (I'm not an organist, so I may be completely wrong!)

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Posts #14 and #15 are interesting in that they lead into the wider question of how to design an adequate yet economical pedal organ, although it is going rather off-topic. This is a problem which I have dallied with for many years. At home one of my electronic organs has ten speaking stops on the pedals (forgive me mentioning the e-word on this forum, but electronics does enable one to experiment more easily than with pipes), and I have fiddled with the stop list from time to time. This is a fairly well endowed three manual instrument with 11 - 12 stops on each manual division, so stops not on the pedals can usually be obtained by coupling from a manual when necessary. With this in mind, I have concluded that flutes above 8 foot and diapasons above 4 foot are not used (at least by me) most of the time, and nor did they do much when they were there previously. Nor was an 8 foot reed particularly useful, but 16 and 4 foot ones are far more so and I would go so far as to say they are necessary. So the current stop list is:

 

Contra Bass 32 (quiet flue)

Major Bass 16 (louder flue - something between an Open Wood and an Open Metal)

Violone 16

Sub Bass 16

Octave 8

Bass Flute 8

Fifteenth 4

Mixture IV

Trombone 16

Schalmei 4

 

I have also experimented with the Mixture composition but have reached no other conclusion than this, also, might be somewhat superfluous much of the time when so many other pitches can be obtained by coupling.

 

So this is my current 'economical' 10 stop pedal organ for a medium sized three decker.

 

CEP

 

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Ralph Downes included an open flute 2ft on practically all his pedal organs. Is this now unfashionable?

It's handy to have a variety of high-pitched stops to play about with on the Pedal, giving one the freedom from having to couple down, or at least the option.

 

Cedric Arnold, Williamson and Hyatt of Thaxted produced some really fine organs in the late sixties and early seventies, of which Little Walsingham Parish Church, Norfolk is quite well-known (http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N06436) St. Botolph's, Colchester, was roughly contemporary and the pedal organs were very similar. The recipe was based on three units - open metal, bourdon and reed, with separate quint pipes in the mixture - and some units were available on the manuals also. The St. Botolph's pedal organ reads like this:

 

Open Bass 16, Sub Bass 16, Principal 8, Bass Flute 8, Fifteenth 4, Chimney Flute 2, Mixture 19.22, Bass Trumpet 16, Trumpet 8, Clarion 4

 

It really was useful to have that 2' flute. It added point to melodic lines and could top off a modest chorus when the mixture would have been a little too much. It was certainly more use than a 4' flute.

 

The whole scheme may look odd to modern eyes, and was quite startling at the time, but it is amazingly effective (http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N00613). There isn't much it won't do. I had my lessons on it for several years when I was at school, so I got to know it very well. It made a great job of the Alcock Introduction and Passacaglia (especially compared with that dreadful old thing that used to be in Room 90 at the RCM and used for ARCM examinations!) and had no trouble with most other things from Howells to Hindemith.

 

I've always liked the idea of making the most of pedal pipes since then....

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And for improvisation especially, some solo inclined pedal flues are of great use. Mind you I'm quite glad that the ubiquitous pedal 4' Schalmei (Rohr or otherwise) seems to have become less popular - it always seemed to be an unpleasantly acidic and somewhat useless noise - especially grafted onto older pipework!

 

A

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I should have thought that this would be a useful addition to fortify a 4' for pedal solos. (I'm not an organist, so I may be completely wrong!)

 

Not at all. My 'own' church instrument has an independent 2ft. Nachthorn on the Pedal Organ and I find it quite useful - and not just for trios.

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It's handy to have a variety of high-pitched stops to play about with on the Pedal, giving one the freedom from having to couple down, or at least the option.

 

Cedric Arnold, Williamson and Hyatt of Thaxted produced some really fine organs in the late sixties and early seventies, of which Little Walsingham Parish Church, Norfolk is quite well-known (http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N06436) St. Botolph's, Colchester, was roughly contemporary and the pedal organs were very similar. The recipe was based on three units - open metal, bourdon and reed, with separate quint pipes in the mixture - and some units were available on the manuals also. The St. Botolph's pedal organ reads like this:

 

Open Bass 16, Sub Bass 16, Principal 8, Bass Flute 8, Fifteenth 4, Chimney Flute 2, Mixture 19.22, Bass Trumpet 16, Trumpet 8, Clarion 4

 

It really was useful to have that 2' flute. It added point to melodic lines and could top off a modest chorus when the mixture would have been a little too much. It was certainly more use than a 4' flute.

 

The whole scheme may look odd to modern eyes, and was quite startling at the time, but it is amazingly effective (http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N00613). There isn't much it won't do. I had my lessons on it for several years when I was at school, so I got to know it very well. It made a great job of the Alcock Introduction and Passacaglia (especially compared with that dreadful old thing that used to be in Room 90 at the RCM and used for ARCM examinations!) and had no trouble with most other things from Howells to Hindemith.

 

 

 

Interesting - I took mine on the Concert Hall Harrison. I do not recall seeing the instrument in Room 90.

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And for improvisation especially, some solo inclined pedal flues are of great use. Mind you I'm quite glad that the ubiquitous pedal 4' Schalmei (Rohr or otherwise) seems to have become less popular - it always seemed to be an unpleasantly acidic and somewhat useless noise - especially grafted onto older pipework!

 

A

Ah - I wonder what you will make of our 2ft. Pedal Schalmei - complete with one flue pipe at the top.... (I also wonder if this was yet another pipe which Phil Burbeck 'borrowed' from the Minster organ. Shortly after I arrived, we had to have to entire top octave of the Swell Mixture replaced with new pipes since, as far as we could ascertain, the originals had disappeared into his bungalow near Cranborne, at some point.)

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Posts #14 and #15 are interesting in that they lead into the wider question of how to design an adequate yet economical pedal organ, although it is going rather off-topic. This is a problem which I have dallied with for many years. At home one of my electronic organs has ten speaking stops on the pedals (forgive me mentioning the e-word on this forum, but electronics does enable one to experiment more easily than with pipes), and I have fiddled with the stop list from time to time. This is a fairly well endowed three manual instrument with 11 - 12 stops on each manual division, so stops not on the pedals can usually be obtained by coupling from a manual when necessary. With this in mind, I have concluded that flutes above 8 foot and diapasons above 4 foot are not used (at least by me) most of the time, and nor did they do much when they were there previously. Nor was an 8 foot reed particularly useful, but 16 and 4 foot ones are far more so and I would go so far as to say they are necessary. So the current stop list is:

 

Contra Bass 32 (quiet flue)

Major Bass 16 (louder flue - something between an Open Wood and an Open Metal)

Violone 16

Sub Bass 16

Octave 8

Bass Flute 8

Fifteenth 4

Mixture IV

Trombone 16

Schalmei 4

 

I have also experimented with the Mixture composition but have reached no other conclusion than this, also, might be somewhat superfluous much of the time when so many other pitches can be obtained by coupling.

 

So this is my current 'economical' 10 stop pedal organ for a medium sized three decker.

 

CEP

 

That's interesting.

 

From my recent experience I'd definitely consider the different balances that pedal stops have if i had to do things again. Although our french baroque organ has a resonance which is designed to complete the pedal, the 8 and 4 reeds area a little retiring for a plein jeu with cantus firmus, because they have a different job to do on the manuals (balancing with combinations on the recit and not being too bass heavy). Also I've found a combination of dedicated 16 and 8 pedal reeds do a better job than a 16 on its own, which can sound isolated even when coupled to manual reeds.

 

Conversely I've not had any problems balancing manual combinations with just two 16 flues.

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Interesting - I took mine on the Concert Hall Harrison. I do not recall seeing the instrument in Room 90.

 

http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N17210

 

It was a horrid machine. I think the idea was to give students the experience of a large organ - it had a nice Walker console with plenty of stops - but nothing really added up. Students who were at the RCM in the 50s used to say that the organ in this room was awful, and I think this was the same instrument, extended in all directions and possibly incorporating bits of another, similar job. The thing was, if you could make a decent account of anything on it, you could probably do it anywhere! I believe Ralph Downes used to tell his students that.

 

Re Schalmeis: I rather like them. I'm partial to throaty gargles when it comes to certain solo stops. The biggest problem is often that 4' pedal reeds are too soft to be of any use. The Krummhorn at Bristol University, the Schalmei at Belfast Cathedral and the Horn at Kirkwall Cathedral (an extension of the Swell Waldhorn and therefore pretty pointless in its capacity on the Pedal) all lacked the presence to be heard over even a modest accompaniment on the manuals. Such stops should be balanced against the registers which will accompany them.

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Oh dear, mea culpa. I really took the thread away good and proper from Auckland Cathedral with #16, didn't I. Maybe this is why another worthy forum doesn't allow discussions about stop lists at all! Ah well, one might as well be hung for a sheep ...

 

So how about this then. Once upon a time two organs were built about 60 years apart, both being substantial two manual instruments with between 8 and 11 stops on each division, but with very different pedal organs. The earlier was by Arp Schnitger (St John's Hamburg 1680) with the following pedal disposition:

 

Untersatz 16
Octava 8
Octava 4
Nachthorn 2
Rauschpfeife II
Mixtur IV-VI
Posaune 16
Trompet 8
Cornet 2

No pedal couplers

 

 

The other was by Gottfried Silbermann (Fraureuth, 1742) which had the following pedal stops:

 

Subbass 16
Posaune 16
Oktave 8

HW - Ped

 

 

Were they simply an earlier reflection of the two schools of thought which emerge in the discussion above - namely, a complete pedal division which needs no help from the manual divisions and so needs no couplers, or merely a big boom plus little boom with a manual coupler?

 

Or was something more subtle at work here?

 

(And, of course, which would JSB have preferred?)

 

CEP

 

 

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Similar things today. The new H&H at Edington Priory, a substantial two manual, has a 16' Sub Bass, 8' Principal, 8' Flute and 16' Trombone. Similarly from recent similar sized Tickell organs, not a Choral Bass, 2' Flute or fractional length reed in sight.

 

A

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