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AJJ

Servite Priory Fulham

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AJJ    0

This instrument

 

http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N08874

 

caused quite a stir when it was installed and indeed somewhere I still have an LP of Alan Harverson playing various 'baroqueries' on it soon after. Does anyone know if it is still looked after, used in recitals etc. as one doesn't seem to hear much about it these days.

 

A

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S_L    0

II found this, a review of a CD by Norman Harper

 

"The 3-manual Grant, Degens and Bradbeer organ at Fulham must have been a revelation upon its arrival in 1968, and it still sounds well today. I don't hear any of the "aggressiveness" that GDB have sometimes been accused of; on the contrary there's a bold, vibrant organo pleno & attractive warm quieter registers. Bach, Brahms, Bruhns, Kellner, Mozart and Russell effectively put the organ through its paces in Harper's substantial programme of music.

Harper's performances are excellent with an impeccable seamless flow. One might wish for stronger characterisation - more ornamentation and flexibility of tempo perhaps - but it's good that he lets the music & the organ speak for themselves. He provides an informative booklet and Christopher Town delivers a wonderfully natural recorded sound"

 

........... and the NPOR gives 1998, 30 years after it was built, as it being 'completely refurbished' by Michael Buttolph.

 

I remember the installation - it did cause quite a stir - along with St Martin's Hull, which preceded it (1966) York University (1969) and, later, New College Oxford (1975).

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According to the parish website:

"The 12.15pm mass makes use of the beautiful organ - one of the finest instruments in England to create a very special service."

 

D.

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AJJ    0

Thanks both above - that is certainly encouraging!

 

A

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Could anyone enlighten me as to the purpose of the 16 foot Holzregal on the Positive? I mean, I get having an 8 foot Krumhorn as the only reed on the Positive, though in this case the Krumhorn is on the Hauptwerk instead of a Trompete. But a 16 foot fractional length as the sole reed on a manual? When would you ever use it?

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S_L    0

There is a Regal 16' on the Brustwerk on the GDB at York as the sole reed on that manual - and on the GDB New College Oxford organ it appears, as a Holzregal 16', again on the Positiv - but, this time, with an 8' Schalmei Krumhorn.

 

I remember hearing the York 16' in about 1971 sitting next to an lady organist who had been a pupil of Bairstow. "I don't care what Dr. ...... says, it's not a musical sound" was her comment about it.

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innate    0

Never using a 16' fractional reed when it is the sole reed on a manual implies that there are situations you might use it were it not the sole reed on a manual. If you could tell us what the latter situations might be we may be able to provide some for the former.

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John Furse    0

A decade earlier, HN&B had a 16’ Dulzian on the Positive at Llandaff (http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N11909). For those who do not know, this is situated in the ‘drum’ behind Epstein’s Majestas (http://www.llandaffcathedral.org.uk/history/the-majestas/). Reading the last, you’ll see that there might have been a Stanley Spencer painting; now, that would have been interesting ! Architecturally, this works better than might be imagined; musically, it gave a passable Cornet – and not much else that was useful.

 

It was a rather misguided attempt (common in the day) to add moque baroque to a revamping of the derided Hope-Jones instrument, with its heavily frustrated Swell. It’s a shame the land mine hadn’t had more oomph.

 

Sadly, this sort of thing still goes on.

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Could anyone enlighten me as to the purpose of the 16 foot Holzregal on the Positive? I mean, I get having an 8 foot Krumhorn as the only reed on the Positive, though in this case the Krumhorn is on the Hauptwerk instead of a Trompete. But a 16 foot fractional length as the sole reed on a manual? When would you ever use it?

 

Maybe the question needs to be asked rhetorically of the old baroque builders! The extant 1680 organ by Arp Schnitger now at Cappel has a Positive whose sole reed is a fractional 16 foot Dulcian in a division where the Principal is at 4 foot pitch. There was probably an element of slavish copying of baroque tonal architectures in the mid-20th century without perhaps a complete understanding of why the early builders did what they did. I have also seen it suggested that the main elements of the British full swell which arose in the 19th century, namely a mixture plus a 16 foot reed, arose from the same roots - presumably because it simply sounded good in chords. (I can't recall where I read this but think it might have been suggested by John Norman somewhere back in Organists' Review. If not, apologies to him).

 

CEP

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Mark Fownes    0

 

I have also seen it suggested that the main elements of the British full swell which arose in the 19th century, namely a mixture plus a 16 foot reed, arose from the same roots - presumably because it simply sounded good in chords. (I can't recall where I read this but think it might have been suggested by John Norman somewhere back in Organists' Review. If not, apologies to him).

 

CEP

 

It was Sumner "The Organ: Its Evolution etc, where he asserts that Willis perceived that "...the incomparable effect of the English full swell organ was due principally to a double chorus reed and to a Mixture of bright tone".

 

MF

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wolsey    0

Could anyone enlighten me as to the purpose of the 16 foot Holzregal on the Positive? I mean, I get having an 8 foot Krumhorn as the only reed on the Positive, though in this case the Krumhorn is on the Hauptwerk instead of a Trompete. But a 16 foot fractional length as the sole reed on a manual? When would you ever use it?

 

I was taught by Alan Harverson in my gap year at the RAM before going to Cambridge, and sometimes had lessons at the Priory. Of course, he is not here to explain his reasonings, but as Maurice Forsyth-Grant says about the organ in his book Twenty-One Years of Organ-Building (Positif Press 1968): "In the meanwhile, however, Alan Harverson was very busy preparing the specification that he required. We have never, before or since, had such a full documentation for the specification of an organ. His main idea was to have a large two-manual specification but judiciously split over three playing manuals. [...] Not only were we given a stop-list but also the exact balance between the stops, and Alan Harverson gave numerous examples of the registrations he intended to use in the playing of the Dutch, North German and French repertoires, as well as in later and more modern music. No organist can ever have been so thorough in trying to get the organ exactly as he required. Because of his definite - and convincing - ideas in the matter, we were quite prepared to the best for him, and [...] on the whole we did manage to fulfil his very exacting requirements."

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It was Sumner "The Organ: Its Evolution etc, where he asserts that Willis perceived that "...the incomparable effect of the English full swell organ was due principally to a double chorus reed and to a Mixture of bright tone".

 

MF

 

Ah, yes, so he did. Thank you. But I've probably confused the issue by not being more specific. The statement I had in mind was a rather tongue-in-cheek one to the effect that "the old baroque builders actually invented the sound of 'full swell' hundreds of years ago by placing a sole 16 foot reed plus a mixture on the same division". But between us I think we've made the point adequately!

 

CEP

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AJJ    0

I was taught by Alan Harverson in my gap year at the RAM before going to Cambridge......."

Interesting - thanks!

 

A

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I was given to understand that these early 16' regals were not particularly loud - certainly no louder than the flues above them - yet in addition to providing a sub-octave pitch, they also contributed upper harmonics to the ensemble.

I assume the modern ones were inserted for the same purpose.

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Thank you for the explanations about the isolated 16 foot Positive regal, though it seems its purpose is still somewhat a matter of conjecture!

 

If the intention was to create a baroque pseudo-"full swell" effect though, surely the logical place to have put it would have been on the Swell not the Positive?

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The old builders certainly did like the effect of 16 foot registers even in small organs. For instance, in Schnitger's two manual organ at Cappel which I referred to above, there is a 16 foot Quintad on the Hauptwerk as well as the fractional 16 foot Dulcian on the Ruckpositiv. The manuals can also be coupled. I have Helmut Walcha's recordings of Bach's organ works recorded largely on this instrument, and he deployed full organ frequently. Its effect is very fine and grand even though the instrument is now in a church which is rather too small for it in terms of its acoustic.

 

The contemporaneous instrument by Wender at the 'Bach church' in Arnstadt did not have room for 16 foot pipes on the Hauptwerk as it was shoved into the top balcony close to the ceiling, but it had an acoustic makeshift in the form of a 5 1/3 foot Quint. Acoustically this makes little sense because its pitch does not coincide with a harmonic elsewhere in the 8 foot plenum, but it produces a sort of ersatz 16 foot resultant growl in the lower part of the keyboard which has its own charm. (The organ was meticulously reconstructed in 2000 so one can hear it pretty much as Bach did, and the 'growl' is quite noticeable).

 

I am not a musicologist, but my admittedly uneducated view is that these techniques might have been intended to balance the shrillness which is associated with instruments from this era. It might therefore be a mistake not to include 16 foot tone in neo-baroque organs whenever possible.

 

CEP

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Hi

 

I think Colin may well be right in his suggestion that the 16ft is intended - at least in part -to counterbalance the shrillness of high pitched mixtures. The same thinking, it seems to me, applies in reed organs, where a manual 16ft is an early addition to the stop list to balance the significant harmonic development of free reeds.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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