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Guildflord Cathedral


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Dear friends:

Sometimes news travels slowly. I've just read about the organ at Guildford being taken-down for cleaning/repair as part of work on the building's fabric.

Are changes to the instrument contemplated ?

Karl Watson,

Staten Island, NY

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I attempted just now to look at Nicholson's website about this (the company doing the work), but the URL is diverting to another site. Is it just me, or are others experiencing the same problem?

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Yes, I'm getting the same problem if I search for it on either Google or Yahoo. But their website seems to be still intact because if you go via 'yell.com' you can get to it OK. Maybe a DNS error somewhere? If so, it will probably correct itself in due course.

 

But clearly something the firm needs to look into ASAP.

 

CEP

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I thought that David Wells of Liverpool was doing the work, but may be wrong. They are also having a new 2 manual + pedal as a choir organ I think. Is one builder doing both or are two involved? I wonder if the Positive division is staying in the choir or being incorporated into the main organ in the transept. All questions but no answers I'm afraid.

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According to the David Wells website they are doing the work, though there is a distinct lack of detailed information as to what precisely they are doing......"Dismantling and preparing the 1961 Rushworth and Dreaper Organ for forthcoming fabric building works. Thereafter cleaning & overhauling; releathering reservoirs, concussions and previously unrestored key action leatherwork; re-assembly; Updating console including new piston system"

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I have heard that there was a plan to remove the existing Positive division in the chancel (the only completely new division when the organ was installed at Guildford) and replace it with a more romantic division. This plan has since been reversed and the Positive division is now to remain as it is. The tonal aspect of the rest of the organ is also to remain pretty much the same.

 

John R

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have heard that there was a plan to remove the existing Positive division in the chancel (the only completely new division when the organ was installed at Guildford) and replace it with a more romantic division. This plan has since been reversed and the Positive division is now to remain as it is. The tonal aspect of the rest of the organ is also to remain pretty much the same.

 

John R

 

Having heard this instrument (at the hands of a superb accompanist) in services - and having had the freedom of the console in a closed building on several occasions - I regard this as no bad thing. This instrument, although slightly unconventional, hangs together well tonally and has a rich variety of quieter registers, which are ideal for choral accompaniment. The only problem (and it is a considerable one), is that the main instrument is placed between the choir and the congregation, so it is almost impossible to avoid playing too loudly at times - unless one only played on the strings and 8ft. flutes.

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I concur with pcnd. The Guildford organ has had some not-too-nice things said about it over the years, but I think it's a fine achievement, possibly thwarted by the notoriously dead acoustic. The position is indeed unfortunate, although not unique - Chester is the same. I sometimes think that the cathedral with the best placed organ, allowing that the choir is in the chancel, is Kirkwall, where it sits behind a screen like a reredos and speaks directly down the main axis of the building.

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