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New Cathedral Organ , Auckland Cathedral


Neil Crawford
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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

 

They are definitely two different schools. As always, I stand to be corrected by those who know more than I, but from what I have seen of the repertoire, your average organist in central Germany and all points south didn't make elaborate use of the pedals. Often their feet might do little more than play the final subject entry in chorale fughettas, or play a chorale melody as a slow cantus firmus. There's a well-known Toccata in d minor by Pachelbel that has a couple of (easy) pedal solos and that's about as complex a pedal part as I can recall. Virtuoso pedal parts were a north German thing. For the most part central and southern German organists only required enough pedal stops to provide a simple bass and for that the minimal pedal departments on Silbermann's village organs was perfectly adequate. Bach, of course, was a law unto himself and it is hard to escape the conclusion that he wrote his pedal parts with a much more independent department in mind.

 

I have mentioned before that St George's, Windsor, has a pedal department that is completely independent of the Great at all volume levels - though you could hardly accuse it of being economical. The late Sidney Campbell occasionally made use of the 4' or 2' flutes to play descants in the psalms. I remember once hearing him do the same with the 2' Kornet. For a moment I thought the organ had sprung a chamade. It wasn't one of his more tasteful flights of fancy.

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Can anyone suggest please - Great Reeds on Pedal, Great Reeds on Solo etc. couplers - is there an advantage in having these over just duplicating a set of stopknobs for Pedal, Solo etc.? There is even a recent big H&H with Great Reeds on Pedal as well as the 16 Great reed drawing independently on the pedal. Strictly speaking I shouldn't have time to be thinking about such things but.....!

 

A

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Two advantages: Less drawstops, less likelihood of overlapping their use.

 

However, there are also disadvantages: firstly, one has to draw at least two stops for the desired effect. Secondly, it is still possible to overlook the state of a transfer drawstop and get an unwanted effect - or temporarily to 'lose' a stop. Secondly, if the effect is to be achieved using general pistons, then depending on how the action is wired, there might be an undesired sound - albeit for only a fraction of a second. For example, unless it has been changed, the organ of Saint Peter's Church, Bournemouth had this problem. If the Great Posaune, Great Reeds on Choir and suitable accompanimental stops on the Pedal, G.O. and Swell were set on a general piston, one had to remember to lift one's hands from the G.O. keys immediately prior to pressing the general piston, otherwise, the reed would sound for an instant (but nevertheless, clearly audibly), before it was transferred to the lowest clavier.

 

I would choose separate drawstops every time, both for convenience and safety.

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I would choose separate drawstops every time, both for convenience and safety.

 

Although rarely in contact with an instrument of the size and scope to include these couplers I would see this as decidedly sensible.

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Is this not a case of 'block' reed transfer stops being cheaper organbuilding? The Gt 16, 8 and 4 ft reeds would normally all be on one chest perhaps with a higher pressure and with one action and 3 sliders. If you want them available separately in different places (eg Pedal, Choir, Great and perhaps Solo) at different times you need a lot more stop knobs as well as 3 actions for 3 diferent winchests. It all costs a lot more.

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Philip is correct, all the reeds must transfer together as they will be on a three-stop slider soundboard. This is the same as on the Great reeds at Llandaff and indeed on many of the old Harrison organs that have Great Reeds on Choir.

 

I wouldn't say making a three-stop slider soundboard with main and slider actions is cheap organ building as it costs more than three direct action chests. This is the old debate of slider soundboards versus direct unit actions.

 

Andrew Moyes

Nicholson & Co

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Andrew Moyes, on 11 Jul 2014 - 08:48 AM, said:Andrew Moyes, on 11 Jul 2014 - 08:48 AM, said:Andrew Moyes, on 11 Jul 2014 - 08:48 AM, said:

Philip is correct, all the reeds must transfer together as they will be on a three-stop slider soundboard. This is the same as on the Great reeds at Llandaff and indeed on many of the old Harrison organs that have Great Reeds on Choir.

 

I wouldn't say making a three-stop slider soundboard with main and slider actions is cheap organ building as it costs more than three direct action chests. This is the old debate of slider soundboards versus direct unit actions.

 

Andrew Moyes

Nicholson & Co

 

Thanks for that Andrew but perhaps you might clarify further. What is the upper limit of wind pressures direct electric actions will work with these days? For the sort of thing detailed above I might have expected the reeds to be on say 6 inches or more, not something I thought 'lever arm magnets' worked on but I know technology has moved on in recent years. However, I gather the Tickell organ Tuba stop at Worcester is on a conventional electropneumatic chest so there is still clearly an upper limit.

 

Congratulations by the way for landing the Aukland contract. Another feather in your cap.

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The Swell 'tierce' mixture is also interesting - possibly with the liturgical uses in mind rather than as a sort of enclosed 'Oberwerk' effect? One of the instruments I play has this and despite the fact that these stops have possibly been out of favour for a while I quite like using it when a really gritty full Swell effect is needed or even as a RH solo with 8' and 4' etc.

 

A

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I thought I recognized that pedal department. ;)

Although originally built for St John's, Hamburg, it has been at Ss Peter & Paul in Cappel since 1816.

 

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

 

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Voicing is everything, of course, but that's another reason why I feel that an organ this size should have at least two mixtures in the Swell.

As Nicholsons did for Paul Hale at Southwell - he goes into the reasons for this somewhere or other in print - and at Llandaff which in many ways looks like the older relation of Auckland.

 

A

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As Nicholsons did for Paul Hale at Southwell - he goes into the reasons for this somewhere or other in print -

 

A

Indeed he did. Paul Hale wrote quite the best and most succinct account of how to design mixtures I have ever come across in his editorial in the May 1996 edition of Organists' Review (which was during his tenure as editor). The reason I could turn this reference up so quickly is a reflection of how good I thought it was and how often I have referred to it.

 

CEP

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Hi Colin

 

This sounds an interesting article: I don't have access to the issue you mention and wonder if you or some other kind person could give us further information from Paul's editorial? Mixture composition is an area I am increasingly interested in but know little about.

 

John

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Hi Colin

 

This sounds an interesting article: I don't have access to the issue you mention and wonder if you or some other kind person could give us further information from Paul's editorial? Mixture composition is an area I am increasingly interested in but know little about.

 

John

 

I can't think of a way to do this which would be legal - copyright and all that. Maybe contact the IAO and seek their permission? In similar instances I have found them to be positive and helpful. Paul himself may also need to be asked.

 

CEP

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