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Which Organ Would You Most Want To Marry?


MusingMuso

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Mine will be pretty obvious to anyone who knows me!

 

1) Romsey Abbey, beyond any shadow of a doubt just THE most amazing combination of instrument and building I have ever found (as long as you mostly avoid the Tuba).  There is no restriction on when you can use it, and the stewards and gift shop people are very nice!  Despite slightly limiting and Victorian specification I have found almost no occasion when I can't get exactly the sound I want from it.  In my humble opinion, it's the English equivalent of...

 

 

I have to agree, Romsey would come very high in my list too. Unfortunately I've never played a *decent* organ outside of the UK...

 

My favourites in this country, though - the order will change depending on the weather:

 

1. Truro (both organs!)

2. Ripon

3. Coventry

4. Romsey

5. Hmm. Feels a bit vain putting your own organ (so to speak) in one's list of favourites. In its present state, then it's not justified, but in fully working order, I think it's a pretty fine instrument...

 

The 1st 3 are quite similar (certainly 2 & 3) in many ways, 4 is just a wonderful Victorian English machine - cumbersome to play, but such a beautiful sound, and so versatile, considering the relatively small number of stops. 5 is a different beast again - very orchestral...

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1. Lincoln Cathedral (Father Willis/Harrison)

2. St Albans Cathedral (Downes/Hurford/Harrison)

3. St Anne's Limehouse, London (Gray & Davison)

4. St Paul's K Street, Washington (Schoenstein)

5. St Matthew's Otterbourne, Hants. (T.C.Lewis)

 

AJJ

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Well OK, but personally, I think that Coventry is rather better than Windsor, having played for services on both and recitals on Coventry. Windsor also has a detached console! I found no problems with apparent lag at Coventry - just that it was the most comfortable console anywhere.

 

My six, in order of preference, are:

 

*Nôtre-Dame de Paris (Even without the chorus mixtures on the Récit.) I was listening to another recording of it again to-day. It really is the most fantastic instrument.

 

*Coventry Cathedral (Reasons as above - except that the Solo Orchestral Trumpets would have to have the original H&H voicing re-instated.)

 

*Bamberg Cathedral (This Rieger organ is truly a superb musical instrument - it even has  8p and 4p chamades on the Hauptwerk.)

 

*Exeter Cathedral (I grew up having lessons on this one - it does everything that I wish and just has a very distinctive voice and personality.)

 

*S. Sernin, Toulouse (The most awesome tutti of any original C-C - anywhere! For me, it even eclipses S. Sulpice or S. Ouen. Oh yes - and it has a couple of chamades....)

 

*Antwerp Cathedral (The Pierre Schyven four-clavier instrument, situated in the West Gallery of this cathedral is excellent - there is not an unpleasant sound anywhere - and, what a console! True, one does not have the brash, rich roar of a C-C - but it is pretty close!)

 

*S. Sulpice (Yes, I know - but organists are notoriously bad counters....) This super-C-C is wonderful; from etherial strings and flûtes harmoniques, to a majestic, thundering tutti.... um.... oh, there is a chamade rank on the fifth clavier, which is now home to the Solo Orgue.)

 

OK - if I really cannot have seven, then I will have to choose between S. Sulpice and Antwerp.

 

Hmmm....

 

Give me some time on that one....

 

Revised list - I forgot a rather important one....

 

Strike the last two and add Wimborne Minster - as David has said, it is a superb organ - arguably the best in Dorset. It is certainly the most versatile and speaks with a single personality. It is also extremely good as a vehicle with which to interpret the reconstituted improvisations of Pierre Cochereau.

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Revised list - I forgot a rather important one....

 

Strike the last two and add Wimborne Minster - as David has said, it is a superb organ - arguably the best in Dorset. It is certainly the most versatile and speaks with a single personality. It is also extremely good as a vehicle with which to interpret the reconstituted improvisations of Pierre Cochereau.

So are you putting Wimborne down twice? That's impressive - their organist would love you for that.

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So are you putting Wimborne down twice?  That's impressive - their organist would love you for that.

 

Well, OK, for my second 'sixth' organ, I will choose Romsey Abbey - I also think that this is a superb instrument - in a superb acoustic.

:unsure:

 

I certainly would not want to upset the organist at Wimborne....

 

:blink:

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Well being very parochial:-

 

Westminster Cathedral

Hereford Cathedral

Bristol Cathedral

Tewkesbury Abbey

Tetbury Parish Church (Gloucestershire)

St. Pauls Cathedral, London

 

The Tetbury organ is the one I grew up with. I guess its very little known. Originally 2M Nicolson extended to 3M by Binns. The great organ, for its size, is stunning, including the finest 3-rank mixture I've ever come across.

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I have to agree, Romsey would come very high in my list too..

 

Hmm. Feels a bit vain putting your own organ (so to speak) in one's list of favourites. In its present state, then it's not justified, but in fully working order, I think it's a pretty fine instrument...

 

 

Hmmm, I think in your case, Adrian, it's probably justified. It's a very fine instrument.

 

I thought about adding Romsey to my list. David and a few others I know will hate me but I actually like the tuba there - so long as you don't add it to the rest of the organ.

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I thought about adding Romsey to my list. David and a few others I know will hate me but I actually like the tuba there - so long as you don't add it to the rest of the organ.

 

I agree - it does feel odd having a Tuba on that particular organ, but it's an occasionally useful addition. If you don't like it, don't use it! AFAIK nothing was sacrificed to add it, so why not?

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I thought about adding Romsey to my list. David and a few others I know will hate me but I actually like the tuba there - so long as you don't add it to the rest of the organ.

 

As you wish! Personally, it (the Tuba) is the only stop which I dislike. I feel that it is out of character. I would have preferred a downwards extension of the Pedal Trombone - which is probably also out of character. However, I think that I would find many uses for a 32p reed - and none for a tuba!

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As you wish! Personally, it (the Tuba) is the only stop which I dislike. I feel that it is out of character. I would have preferred a downwards extension of the Pedal Trombone - which is probably also out of character. However, I think that I would find many uses for a 32p reed - and none for a tuba!

 

Well, it's not my favourite stop, but it gets better as you go down the building. I believe Frostick voiced it, so it ought to be good. I mostly use it to beef up the pedal in seriously loud bits, eg last two pages of Dupre Variations. The action is just slow enough against the mechanical manual actions to be irritating in combination.

 

I do think a 32 would upset the balance a little, there being no 16 reed on the manuals. There's enough gravitas already - I know nothing beats a good contra motorbike but the chorus seems to perfectly self-contained I think it would be a pity to ruin it. You can always fake one with harmonics (which I have now worked out how to do properly...)

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I know the present organist at Otterbourne and he thinks that little Lewis is wonderful. I must go and invite myself to have a look at it...

 

The organist there in my time (and fellow Southampton undergrad.) is now Vicar of South Stoneham & Burgess Road!

 

AJJ

 

'Worth a visit if anyone likes Lewis' work on a small scale as well as Soutwark etc. and a lovely church too:-

http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=N18679

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As you wish! Personally, it (the Tuba) is the only stop which I dislike. I feel that it is out of character. I would have preferred a downwards extension of the Pedal Trombone - which is probably also out of character. However, I think that I would find many uses for a 32p reed - and none for a tuba!

I strongly disagree with this for Romsey, for the reasons David mentions. The trombone sounds fabulous from the aisle south of the quire. I think perhaps it doesn't get out properly into the rest of the building. And David must show me how he fakes the 32' reed at Romsey - I've been doing the trick myself on my toaster ever since we were shown how. B)

 

The Grove organ at Tewkers manages rather well without a 32' reed but with a tuba and I can think of a whole host of organs in the same situation.

 

Re. the organist at Otterbourne - was later vicar there? Was a certain Gary Philbrick? Great chap - I'll have to mention your name, Alastair!!

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Well, it's not my favourite stop, but it gets better as you go down the building.  I believe Frostick voiced it, so it ought to be good.  I mostly use it to beef up the pedal in seriously loud bits, eg last two pages of Dupre Variations.  The action is just slow enough against the mechanical manual actions to be irritating in combination. 

 

I do think a 32 would upset the balance a little, there being no 16 reed on the manuals.  There's enough gravitas already - I know nothing beats a good contra motorbike but the chorus seems to perfectly self-contained I think it would be a pity to ruin it.  You can always fake one with harmonics (which I have now worked out how to do properly...)

 

You have a good point, David - I am surprised that I forgot that you have no 16p reed on the claviers - I also dislike a 32p reed in such a case, because it leaves what I will describe as a 'sonic gap'.

 

I still do not like the tuba, though. Mind you, I do not like any tuba stop which I have ever heard, so this probably will not surprise you....

 

Glad you worked-out the harmonics. Please tell me you do not refer to it as a dominant ninth, though!

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I know nothing beats a good contra motorbike but the chorus seems to perfectly self-contained I think it would be a pity to ruin it.  You can always fake one with harmonics (which I have now worked out how to do properly...)

 

I was shown this trick once, but I can't remember the harmonics - please spill the beans! B)

 

Graham

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I was shown this trick once, but I can't remember the harmonics - please spill the beans! B)

 

Graham

 

Tonic/dominant ninth (depending on who you talk to) - on a big chord of C major, the notes (to play on a nice bland stopped diapason) would ideally be G,E,Bb,D and F# if you can manage it. Sometimes it works E,G,Bb,D and fits easier into one hand. Geoff Morgan showed me & Colin Harvey this & a couple of other tricks that have changed our lives for good.

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Actually, I was thinking about this - surely it should be a dominant ninth, as it resolves in the same way as a dominant 7th?

 

No - if you are playing in (for example) G major, and end on a tonic chord, providing a fake 32p by playing (with your left hand) the notes B, D, F and A ( and C# if you can reach), this is a tonic ninth. One cannot treat it as if it were a JSB Chorale harmony, since its purpose is not to 'resolve' anywhere, but rather to provide some of the harmonics of the 32p series.

 

Any jazz musician, used to reading chord tablature will tell you the same!

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No - if you are playing in (for example) G major, and end on a tonic chord, providing a fake 32p by playing (with your left hand) the notes B, D, F and A ( and C# if you can reach), this is a tonic ninth. One cannot treat it as if it were a JSB Chorale harmony, since its purpose is not to 'resolve' anywhere, but rather to provide some of the harmonics of the 32p series.

 

Any jazz musician, used to reading chord tablature will tell you the same!

 

Even with an F natural in a G major chord?

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